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V. .jTV, 



His Life and His Work 

BY ys^J^Jy^r€^\ 




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" Sic eunt fata hominum." 

G. Hauptmann, Die Ratten. 

" Nur samtliche Menschen machen die 



The aim of this essay is to give to the English 
reader an introduction to Hauptmann's works 
in their relation to his life and character. 
My wish is that it may act as a stimulus to 
read " Hauptmann ** and to see productions of 
his plays on the stage. For an author of the 
eminence of Gerhart Hauptmann, surely, ought 
to be more widely known in England than he 
actually is. 

If the style of the study is not hopelessly 
un-English it is no merit of mine, but the 
result of the kind assistance I obtained in 
its revision by my friends the Hon. Mrs. 
Chaloner Dowdall and Professor D. J. Sloss, 
and of the valuable suggestions of Professor 
Oliver Elton and Dr. Graham Brown. Mr. 
W. G. Jones most kindly read the proofs. 

I am indebted to Professor H. G. Fiedler 
for kindly supplying me with some biographical 

X Preface 

notes, and to my friend Professor R. Petsch 
for lending me a copy of the rare ** Pro- 
methidenlos " and for freely offering his valu- 
able advice. 

To all of them I express my heartfelt thanks. 

Part of this study was first delivered as an 
address to the Liverpool Playgoers' Society on 
the eve of Hauptmann's fiftieth birthday, and 
was repeated to the Leeds Playgoers on March 6, 
1913. K. H. 


Gerhart Hauptmann's Life from 1862-1} 



Literary Tendenciks of his Time . 


Gerhart Hauptmann's Work from 1889-1912 
I. Dramas ..... 

1. Social Dramas 

2. Family Dramas 

3. Fairy Dramas 

4. Survey of Hauptmann's Dramatic Art 76 

n. Novels 
HL Theory 








Table of Works 






Gerhart Hauptmann is not unknown in 

England. Several of his plays have been 

translated into English, some of them — as, for 

example, "Lonely Lives" and "Hannele" — 

have been produced on the stage. As early 

as 1905 the University of Oxford — even prior 

to that of Leipzic — conferred upon him the 

distinction of the honorary degree of Doctor 

of Literature. And yet the general public is 

hardly aware of the range of his writings and 

of the distinguishing characteristics of his 


♦ Since this paper was written Hauptmann has 
gained the singular, but well-deserved, honour of the 
Nobel Prize, in November, 1912. 

2 Gerhart Hauptmann 

On November 15, 1912, Gerhart Hauptmann 
celebrated his fiftieth birthday, in the midst of 
his beloved family, near Obersalzbrunn in the 
Silesian mountains, where he was born and 
where he spent the truly happy days of his 
youth. As the youngest of three sons he 
passed his first years, from 1862 to 1874, 
in his home at Obersalzbrunn, where his 
father, an upright earnest man, kept an hotel. 
The elder Hauptmann came from a modest 
family who in a few generations, by their own 
labour, had come to comfortable circum- 
stances. Gerhart 's mild and devout mother, 
bred up in the fear of God and love of 
duty, was the daughter of a worthy family 
of Government ofiicials. 

Hauptmann might repeat the words of 
Goethe : 

Vom Vater hab' ich die Statur, des Lebens emstes 

Vom Miitterchen die Frohnatur, die Lust zu 


But it is always hard to fit individuals to 
preconceived epigrams, much harder than to 

His Life from 1862-1889 3 

fit epigrams to persons. It would be certainly 
going too far to conclude in anything more than 
a general way that in Gerhart the boy was 
the father of the man. He grew up lustily 
and cheerfully, though his temper was much 
quieter than his brothers'. Although he loved 
books, probably an inheritance from his self- 
taught, but well-read father, he apparently 
loved nature more. He gave himself up to 
lonely fanciful dreamings. But he was by no 
means merely an imaginative, fantastic lad ; 
he could be the wildest amongst his playmates, 
and was primus inter pares in the little village. 
When seven years old he welcomed his returning 
brothers, after a lengthy separation, by a dance 
of his own invention, designed to represent a 
whirlwind. His days were happy. The first 
sorrows came, as they often do, with school- 
life, when in Easter, 1874, he was sent to 
a secondary school at Breslau. 

Gerhart was no scholar ; to the country lad, 
town seemed but a prison. He hated school 
with its regime of cramming. He was distin- 
guished only by his skill in essay-writing and 

4 Gerhart Hauptmann 

drawing. His young brother, Carl,* was the 
only one of his associates to recognize the ability 
of his early lyrical exultations. Soon Fate re- 
heved the boy. His father, by no neglect of his 
own, suffered adverse circumstances, and was 
obliged to realize his assets. He left his 
paternal home with Httle besides an unstained 
character, having paid all his creditors to the 
last penny. 

Gerhart had to be taken from school, much 
to his delight, and was sent to a small estate 
belonging to his uncle, where he took the place 
of his cousin, who had died young. Here 

• Carl Hauptmann is a scientist. He studied in Jena 
with Haeckel and in Zurich with Forel. The fruit of his 
studies is a valuable publication on " Die Metaphysik in der 
modernen Physiologie," r893. He then began to follow the 
example of his younger brother, Gerhart, by writing dramas. 
Naturally, he was at once considered as a mere imitator of 
his greater brother. Yet he is an artistic personality with 
real individuality. His special talent seems to lie in narra- 
tive. But in lyrical poetry he is gifted, even more so 
than Gerhart. His works are :— Plays : •* Marianne," 1894 ; 
" Waldleute," 1895 ; ♦♦ Ephraims Breite," 1898 ; •' Die Berg- 
schmiede," 1902; *♦ Des Kcinigs Harfe," 1903; •'Die 
Austreibung," 1905; "Moses," 1906; " Panspiele," 1909. 
Lyrics: •' Sonnenwanderer," 1896; "Aus meinem Tage- 
buch," 1900. Fiction: "Aus Hutten am Berge," 1902; 
** Mathilde," 1902 ; '* Miniaturen," 1904 ; and his latest novel 
"Einhart der Lachler," 191 1, 

His Life from 1862-1889 5 

again he could breathe the healthy country air. 
His childish mind received impressions which 
have remained constant throughout his life. 
A pious, implicit Christian faith ruled the house, 
not fanatically, but still with that singleness 
of object pecuHar to the Moravian sect. Bach 
and Handel, but also Beethoven, were the 
geniuses who hovered round the simple house. 
Music and Nature enraptured the soul of the un- 
conscious poet, who, having escaped from the 
confinement of town life, enjoyed the free life of 
the country. His soul grew strong again, and he 
felt the emotions for which, long years after- 
wards, when he was in Greece, in 1907, he found 
expression : '* The peasant's soul was strong 
and naive. Strong and naive were his Gods." 
Here we notice the change from boy to 
youth, here also he finds his first pure love. 
Again in his Greek diary he is reminded of his 
first love-scene in his uncle's orchard, where he 
paces up and down at the side of a seventeen- 
year-old maiden. The love idyll is suddenly 
interrupted by urchins popping over the fence 
and throwing stones. The hero gets violent, but 

6 Gerhart Hauptmann 

the lovely maiden mildly appeases him as well 
as the intruders. One feels in his later writing 
how happy he felt then — thirty years ago ! 

But again Gerhart did not stay here. He 
i loved nature, he revered the piety of his rela- 
tives, he revelled in music. But his life's 
aim was higher. He could not become a 
peasant. After two years he revisited Breslau, 
this time to study Art, especially sculpture. 
So many poets in their years of preparation 
have gone through the same course ; for 
instance, the Swiss writer, Gottfried Keller, 
perhaps the greatest German novelist of the 
nineteenth century, and Henrik Ibsen. Their 
artistic soul smoulders within them ; it 
demands an outlet, and the flame leaps at 
everything ; but at last it bursts forth. The 
poet has discovered his realm. 

So Gerhart Hauptmann went to the Art 
School in Breslau. But soon he was in trouble 
again, and had it not been for one friend 
amongst the professors, he would have been 
rusticated after four months. He stayed 
another year, until April, 1882, modelling and 

His Life from 1862-1889 7 

writing youthful, historical dramas. Then he 
left to follow his brother Carl as a student at 
the University of Jena. Philosophy and 
Natural Science were his main subjects of study, 
but he did not forget his sculpture. Needless^ 
to say, a world-renowned scientist like Haeckel 
attracted him. The talk of the circle in which, 
he lived was centred in scientific and socialist^ 
ideas, and both these tendencies find theic- 
way into his later dramas. But he had not yet 
settled down, or steadied himself to express 
them. The unsatisfied, surging desire still - 
drove him onward. In spring, 1883, he visited 
his eldest brother George, then newly married, 
in Hamburg, and started from there on a sea 
trip to the Mediterranean. He followed in the 
wake of Childe Harold, and perceived, like 
him, the discrepancy between the beautiful 
lands and the creatures therein : 

" Oh Christ ! It is a goodly sight to see 
What Heaven hath done for this delicious land : 
What fruits of fragrance blush on every tree ! 
What goodly prospects o'er the hills expand I 
But man would mar them with an impious hand : 

8 Gerhart Hauptmann 

And when the Almighty hfts his fiercest scourge 
'Gainst those who most transgress his high 

With treble vengeance will his hot shafts urge 
Gaul's locust host, and earth from fellest foemen 

In Marseilles Hauptmann left the boat and 
travelled by train along the Riviera to Genoa, 
where he met his brother Carl. Together they 
went to Naples and spent six happy weeks in 
Capri. They parted, Carl going back and 
Gerhart remaining in Rome till the malarial 
fever drove him home also. 

The fruit of this long voyage is Gerhart 
Hauptmann's first published book, an epic — 
" Promethidenlos," 1885. Hauptmann after- 
wards withdrew it from sale, so that there 
are only a few copies extant. He himself 
recognized its deficiencies in metre, rhyme, and 
substance. But there are two notes ringing 
through the whole epic which sound through 
\ all Hauptmann's future work : pity for the 
darkness of wretched humanity ; longing for 
the light of heavenly beauty. He himself is 

His Life from 1862-1889 9 

the hero Selin, who shudders at the sight of 
the misery in the slums of Naples, whose heart 
bleeds for those wretched creatures who sell 
their bodies and kill their souls. Here he pro- 
nounces the beautiful words : 

" Die Dichter sind die Thranen der Geschichte : 
Die heisse Zeiten mit Begierde schliirfen." 

But Hauptmann had not yet found his calling, 
whether to follow the Muse with the chisel 
or with the lute. The hero Selin of his epic 
cannot decide — his end was a grave at sea. 

Meanwhile Hauptmann hurried back to a 
house set high among the Thuringian moun- 
tains. Four sisters, bereft of their father, lived 
here an idyllic existence. The eldest had already 
been carried off by George, the eldest brother of 
Gerhart. Carl carried off the brunette Martha, 
and young Gerhart felt drawn towards the 
southern beauty of Mary. Long afterwards he 
describes the sisters, the beautiful seclusion of 
their lives, and their wooing. In 1891, when 
travelling by train along the base of the moun- 
tain, he called out to his companion : " Should 

lo Gerhart Hauptmann 

I ever write a Midsummer Night's Dream, it 
could only have its setting over there." Four- 
teen years afterwards, in 1905, he reedly wrote 
it. It was published in 1907, and soon with- 
drawn from the stage. It certainly had its 
deficiencies, but yet I should sadly miss, in a 
collection of Hauptmann's works, his " Jung- 
fern vom Bischofsberg " — " The Maidens of 
Bischofsberg." It is bathed in a lyrical, 
harmonic atmosphere, which is expressed by 
one of its characters : " Beautiful, camerado, 
but also melancholy." Brown-red autumn 
colours lend to it their tones. A romantic 
dreamland rises before us. Four sisters live 
and are wooed by their suitors in ancient 
Gothic halls surrounded by parks and vine- 
yards. The end of the Midsummer Night's 
Dream is : All's well that ends well. There is 
little action, but exquisite sentiment. We 
listen to Hauptmann's half-melancholy, half- 
humorous recollections of the happy days he 
spent there, and seem to Usten to a delightful 
and romantic fairy tale. 
To this place — " Hohenhaus " — Gerhart 

His Life from 1862-1889 1 1 

went from Italy, where he soon became en- 
gaged to Mary. He entered the Art Academy 
of Dresden to continue his studies in sculpture, 
and returned to Rome in 1884, but severe fever 
confined him to bed. Nursed by his betrothed, 
he recovered, and once more went back to 
Hohenhaus in spring. 

In May Gerhart, now twenty-two and 
still undecided which Muse to follow, married 
his bride in Dresden, whence they went to live 
in Berlin. There, following Richard Wagner's ( 
theory of the " work of art of the future," 
he thought to unite plastic art and poetry 
by becoming an actor, and he took up serious 
studies. Again he gave it up, and feeling 
oppressed by the stone walls and the stifling 
air of the town, fled once more to the healthy, 
regenerating countryside. He went with his 
young wife, his brother and a friend, to Riigen 
to breathe the sea air. The atmosphere of the 
island is felt in his latest published drama — 
" Gabriel Schilling's Flight." 

In the autumn they returned to live in Erkner, 
a pleasant suburb which is to Berlin what 

1 2 Gerhart Hauptmann 

Chislehurst is to London. There he at last 
found rest and stayed for four happy years, 
during which time three sons were born to 
him respectively in 1886, 1887, and 1889— the 
great year of Hauptmann's life, when his first 
drama was published and staged. 



During those four years at Erkner Hauptmann 
acquired his dramatic ideals and technique. 
Here he came into close contact with all the 
new tendencies which were then current in the 
literary life of Germany. Various forces 
were at work. In the middle of the century, 
what is commonly known as the breakdown 
of German idealism had numbed all enthusiasm 
for philosophy and poetry. As the great 
historian of literature, Gervinus, expressed it : 
The time of fiction and idea had passed ; the 
time of will and deed had come. It is the time 
when Schopenhauer at last gained the fame so 
long delayed. His pessimism, which Eduard 
von Hartmann had made the fashionable 
philosophy, was only too effective to turn the 
mind aside from lofty speculation to the world 


14 Gerhart Hauptmann 

of hard facts. The glorious rise of empirical 
science contributed to the same end. Not 
ideas, but matter, counted. Materialism held 

These decades after 1850 are as philistine 
as any in the history of German literature, in 
spite of the names of Keller, Fontane, Rabe, 
Heyse. What was looked for in the theatres 
was amusement, and nothing but amusement. 
Not that I denounce this as an absolutely in- 
artistic aim. But their amusement consisted 
in the flattest satisfaction of superficial senti- 
mentality and sensuality. Black and white 
drawings became a requirement on the stage ; 
fair heroes and black villains ; reward to the 
former and punishment to the latter. Poetic 
justice triumphed. Fiat justitia, pereat mundus. 
Displays of feelings were welcomed, so long as 
they were not rooted in the fathomless depths 
of human nature. Dramatic Art gives ex- 
pression to its creations through an exalted 

But there will always be times of decadence 
In Art when the artistic diction as a means is 

Literary Tendencies of his Time 1 5 

confused with the artistic creation as an aim. 
These are the barren times of the rhetorical 
drama, which instead of a Hving creation gives 
a dead and hollow pathos. In those epochs 
the artist has to seek for the true springs 
of creative art. It might have been expected 
that the Franco-German War, which at last 
brought the realization of the long-desired 
ideal of a German Empire, would have inspired 
the dry poetic brains with jubilant enthusiasm. 
It failed to do so, for the materialistic fetters 
were too strong to be shaken off. The result 
of the union was a grand display of energy in 
the fields of industry and commerce. That 
great practical genius, Bismarck, by the 
example and success of his life-work, inaugu- 
rated a period of intense practical activity 
throughout the nation. Positivism was its 
domain, together with historical science with 
the minuteness of its methods adapted from 
the rising natural sciences, and finally psy- 
chology with its empirical foundation. 

Gradually the crude materialistic Weltan- 
schammg gave way. There was as yet only 

1 6 Gerhart Hauptmann 

a general ferment which awaited the leaven 
of new ideals. These could not be wholly 
created from within ; the new forces which 
at the end of the seventies and the beginning of 
the eighties slowly created new convictions of 
literary aims, came chiefly from outside. As 
the age was inclined through historical and 
scientific reasons to disregard the political 
boundaries, as it, in fact, tended to cosmo- 
politanism, artists looked abroad for what 
. they could not find at home. 

The intellectual life of France had undeir 
gone a complete change between 1850 and 
1870, an d it is a tjincfi. felt in poetry in the 
widest sense^^^^t is the age of Naturalism 
in literature. Balzac, Flaubert, the brothers 
Goncourt, and finally Zola, are known well 
enough as both the founders and masters of 
the new Realism in Art. Comte's Positivism is 
strongly alive in it. The new Art obtained 
j its material from nature and experience, its 
^principle of selection and its aim are Reason 
and Truth, its method is borrowed from the 
dominating Natural Sciences. The sponsors 

Literary Tendencies of his Time 1 7 

of the marriage between Uterature and science 
are Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer. It 
often seems as if novels and dramas were only 
written to exemplify their theories ; natural- 
istic poetry and natural science cannot be 
separated. Xs it a wonder, then, that the 
young German writers who had most of them, ] 
like Gerhart Hauptmann, sat at the feet of the^ 
great scientific theorist Haeckel in Jena, 
who had studied under Forel and others in 
Zurich, at once felt jtroijgl^,,(toWB^^^^ 
this Naturalism ? 

From its outset Naturalism is connected^ 
with ^of ^^alism . Xhey. rise. jon the same basis — 
the minute inv estigation into the atomistic y 
iiature of reality^ ^ Socialism was founded in 
Germany as early as 1863 by Ferdinand 
Lassalle. Checked by the patriotic wave of the 
war, it sprang up again after the terrible crash 
of the Griinderjahre — those years of reckless 
speculation — and was kindled to a blaze by the 
anti-socialist legislation after 1878. Naturally, 
this forceful movement lound . channels into 
hteratjar£U-_and_fl.Q5dSiijit. We have already 


1 8 Gerhart Hauptmann 

heard that the eadiest pubHcation of Haupt- 
\^ mann bears full witness to this in its keynote 
of sympathy with the poorest of the poor. 

Those various tendencies were focussed in 
two centres of Germany — in Munich and 
Berlin. In the latter town it was chiefly the 
work of the brothers Hart, who set forth the 
new literary ideals in their *' Critical Duels " of 
1885. They felt they could never sufficiently 
admire Zola's devotion to truth, his realism ; 
this must be the leaven of all poetry. But on 
the other side, they were independent enough 
to point out the deficiencies of his theories. 
They firmly denounced the identification of 
poetry with psychological science as Zola had 
expressed it : '* Le retour ^ la nature, revolu- 
tion naturaliste, qui emporte le si^cle, pousse 
peu a peu toutes les manifestations de I'intelli- 
gence humaine dans une meme vie scientifique." 
They emphatically enunciated in accord with 
Zola that no matter, not even the vulgar 
and immoral, is in itself unpoetical. " What 
x/ the poet represents is indifferent ; it only 
matters that he represents it as a poet." " The 

Literary Tendencies of his Time 1 9 

how, not' the what, tells." But even here we 
find the connexion with Zola who expressly 
stated the substance of poetry and fiction 
to be '* un coin de la nature vu a travers un 
temperament." There we have already the 
recognition of the ultra-naturalistic and indi- '^ 
vidual moment in artistic production. 

However, the brothers Hart did not state the 
principle that form is the fundamental element 
in literary work. Their guiding principles were / 
social and ethical rather than aesthetic. They 
wrote : *' Our combats do not decide between 
the Ugly and the Beautiful, but between 
Good and Evil ; our Weltanschauung is not 
optimistic hke the Greek, and our ideal is not 
the a'wrSoi/, the becoming, the harmony of the 
formal, but the love, which descends to the 
depths of human nature and knows how to 
glorify misery and sickness." 

In 1886, a year after the appearance of the 
" Critical Duels," a literary club was formed 
in Berlin, where these fundamental principles 
of Hart were matured and reduced to a 
more precise and lucid statement. The Club 

20 Gerhart Hauptmann 

'^^D]ji;^lLlLia.Df the greatest importance in the 
yatfilX-SLlfladern (idiniin literature. Soci^t^ 
i gts, indiyidua hsts, ncitiiral scientists, all jouud 
themselves united in their endeavour to further 
their Hterary aims, and, Hke most of his frienda*__ 
Gerhart. Hauptmann joined it in May^ 1887,^ 
after having celebrated its first anniversary in 
his house at Erkner. The general trend of the 
minds assembled therein was towards a combina^* 
tion of social ethics with profound psycholo gy. 
They could not look for better exponents than 
were to be found in Russian and Scandinavian 
hterature. One has only to think of Tolstoy, 
Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, to be convinced of the 
height of their almost religious attitude in 
social ethics and of their unrivalled power of 
psychological characterization. Their works 
were leavening the entire production of modern 
German writers. 

It is true that at first they were hailed in 
Germany under rather a misapprehension. 
They were looked upon as faithful adherents 
to the dogma of Naturalism, whichJustJJien 
took its finaLiorm in the work of Arno Holz, 

Literary Tendencies of his Time 21 

the originator of the so-called " consequent 
naturalism. ' ' Holz widens the ' ' milieu " theory 
of Hippolyte Taine and the Aristotelian 
mimesis to an absolute photography of nature. 
He coins — in rather clumsy style — the defini- 
tion : "Art tends to revert to Nature. It 
becomes Nature in proportion to its respective 
conditions of reproduction and their treat- 
ment." A purely atomistic and mechanical 
nature is reconstructed by the most exact 
scientific method to give a complete empirical 
understanding of world and nature as it is — 
in his eyes. As a fruit of his minute investiga- 
tion into everyday life, he, together with a 
colleague of his, Johannes Schlaf, published a 
small volume of sketches entitled " Papa Ham- 
let," which appeared in 1888 as a translation 
from a Norwegian author. 

A year afterwards, in i88g, a drama was 
pubhshed and dedicated to this supposititious 
Bjarne Peter Holmsen. It is the first published 
drama o^ Gerhart Hauptmann, and has the 
title " Vor Sonnenaufgang " — ** Before Sun- 
rise." There would have been no chance of its 


22 Gerhart Hauptmann 

production in any of the then existing muni- 
cipal or state stages. But just previously the 
Parisian Theatre Libre of Andre Antoine 
had visited Berlin and influenced some 
literary men there, among them Hart, Theo- 
dore Wolf, now the editor of the " Berliner 
Tageblatt," the well-known Maximilian 
Harden, Otto Brahm, now Director of the 
famous Lessing Theater in Berlin,* and Paul 

* After this essay had been written the news arrived that 
Otto Brahm had died suddenly. Modern German drama 
loses in him one of its prominent leaders. Endowed with 
thorough scholarship which qualified him to write the best 
biography of Kleist existing, he was gifted with an unerr- 
ingly keen feeling for dramatic value. It was this which 
made him recognize Hauptmann's dramatic power from the 
first. He brought Hauptmann's plays before the public long 
before the ordinary theatres were open to them. He was the 
practical genius among the circle of the ardent supporters of 
Hauptmann's art. He staged all his plays in the best pro- 
ductions they have had. At first he threw open to them the 
" Freie Biihne," then the ** Deutsches Theater," and in the 
last years the "Lessing Theater," of which he was the most 
famous Director and will be for a long time to come. His 
name is inseparably connected with the rise of the modem 
German drama. Gerhart Hauptmann, at the bier of Otto 
Brahm, on Sunday, ist December, said : ** The work of this 
man was partly my work, and my work was partly his. This 
profoundly valuable man was distinguished by the special 
German qualities of idealism, not of a vague idealism, but 
of a firmly founded one, produced by fulfilment of duty and 
circumspection." Requiescat in pace I 


Literary Tendencies of his Time 23 

Schlenther, afterwards Director of the Vienna 
Court Theatre, to follow its example, by 
founding a so-called free theatre — " Freie 
Biihne/' In September, 1889, it was opened 
with Ibsen's '* Ghosts." The second drama 
to be produced was written by an unknown 
author ; it was Gerhart Hauptmann's " Vor 
Sonnenaufgang " ; it was the rise of his 
dramatic sun. 



I. Dramas 
I. Social Dramas 

" VoR SoNNENAUFGANG " was produced on 

- October 20, 1889, amidst unprecedented stormy 

scenes both of approval and dissent, and at 

once put its young author in to the foremost 

rank of German playwrights. It focussed in 

itself all those various literary tendencies of 

, which we have been speaking. During his years 

(f in at Erkner Hauptmann read almost every book 

V a) on sociological problems he could get hold ci^ 

\i and naturally his drama is a proof of it^ The 

^^^ chief interest is in social-ethical problems. 

^it>^^ By the discovery of coal on their property 

a peasant family has come to immense wealth, 

and thereby to unaccustomed luxury. In- 

His Work from 1889-1912 25 

- stead of giving up their life to daily work as 
r previous generations had done, they spend it 

- in idleness, and in consequence are driven 
to all sorts of base vices. Immorality rules 

- the house, i The eldest daughter is married to 
a low, mean, and sensual character. At the 
opening of the play his former schoolfellow, 
Loth, who has come to study labour and 
housing conditions in the Silesian mountains, 
enters the house. He at once starts to preach 
his idealistic creed of abstinence and morality. 
The youngest daughter, by being brought up 
in the Moravian community, has been kept 

/ clean from the contamination of a home, where- 
in the father is a drunken beast and the step- 
mother is as coarse and brutal as she is vain. 
She is to be married to the idiot son of a neigh- 
bour who lives in adultery with her mother. 
This horrible milieu reminds us of Tolstoy's 
grand and sinister drama " The Power of Dark- 
ness." It was due to this portrait of the lowest 
immoraHty that Hauptmann was hailed as the ' 
hero of Naturalism. It remained unnoticed 
that he already had departed from naturalistic 

26 Gerhart Hauptmann 

dogma by depicting the growing love between 

the young girl Helen and the idealist Loth, in 

the course of which Hauptmann gives us, in 

the fourth act, the most charming love-scene 

which has been written in modern German 

drama. His own soft nature in its overflowing 

wealth of feeling breaks through. The portrait 

of Helen is one of his finest creations, and 

ranks with the best to be found in German 

literature. Her partner. Loth, on the other 

side, is an absolute failure. He is a blubbering 

theorist, invented to put forth the sociological 

problems the author has at heart, which are 

clearly indicated by the milieu. When hearing 

^ that his chosen bride, who desires to be rescued 

from the squalor of her parental home, belongs 

, to a family of hereditary drunkards, he de- 

1 parts, leaving her without explanation, without 

I consolation. The play ends in tragedy for the 

vpoor girl, who commits suicide. Thus, by 

the strength of his artistic individuaHty, 

Hauptmann has himself crossed his aim of 

\ creating a " social drama," which denomination 

he chose as sub-title of his work. 

His Work from 1889-1912 27 

The next social drama is the greatest he has 
written — " The Weavers," written in 1892, in 
broad Silesian dialect — in EngHsh the York- 
shire dialect would best correspond to it — and 
produced on the Free Stage on February 26, 
1893. It had a tremendous success, due to its 
own artistic merits, but also to the blind 
futility of the censor who forbade its produc- 
tion. In purely dramatic. technique it is perhaps 
Hauptmann's boldest attempt, and in that he 
fully succeeded it shows his dramatic power. 
Instead of selecting one individual as^-hero-oi, 
the tragedy, to bear his message, he does not 
hesitate to make the whole mass of weavers 
t he f ocus of _ the drama. They sing, as he 
once put it in one of his few lyrical attempts, 
" mit Donnergeton, das Lied, so finster und 
doch so schon, das Lied von unserm Jahr- 
hundert." Their unlimited misery is the 
theme. Hauptmann having grown up in 
the weaving centre in Silesia, knows it well. 
He dedicates the drama to his father, who 
had told him the tale of his own father, 
of how he had to work and to suffer as 


28 f*^ Gerhart Hauptmann 

a poor weaver himself. It is the expression 
of his deep pity, and sincere concern, for the 
wretched conditions of those people who work 
from early morning to late at night until 
they become bent and blind, and yet are 
half-starved, have no money to buy bread, or 
to buy medicine for^ their sick, although the 
sick-bed is never empty. Instead of food 
they have stones to satisfy their hunger, 
and if they kill a dog their starved stomachs 
cannot digest it. The drama opens with 
the situation arising from a proposal to 
reduce their wages. They can endure it no 
longer, and still are too weak to rise up 
against it. But gradually even they become 
possessed with the spirit of revolt. A young 
man, just home from his military service, 
tells them of the life in the town out- 
side their wretched hovels. A song is circu- 
lated among them, called the Blood Justice — 
" Das Blutgericht." It is their confederate 
song, it becomes their creed, prayer, and 
symbol. In a grand scene at the close of 
the third act, all of them, poor, ragged, 


His Work from 1889-1912 29 

half-starved creatures as they are, burst 
out with the revolutionary tune. It rings 
through the streets, and they march to their 
employer's house and demolish it just after he 
has escaped. In the fifth act soldiers come to 
restore order, but the v/eavers stand up against 
them, and succeed in driving them back ; 
at that moment a volley is discharged, and a 
stray bullet flies through a window, hitting 
the only man who has not taken part in the 
rebellion. He was sitting throughout behind 
his loom, working, and praying most devoutly 
to the Almighty. Here the curtain drops. 

Hauptmann had made profound studies for 
this work, and besides his own knowledge of 
the actual condition, he consulted the records 
of the weavers' revolt in the forties, a story 
which he adapted for his drama. It consists 
of successive pictures and situations, and yet 
it is an inseparable unity and entity, by reason 
of the atmosphere which pervades it from 
beginning to end. I repeat — "The Weavers" U 
is Gerhart Hauptmann's greatest social drama. 

Two years before this play Hauptmann 


30 Gerhart Hauptmann 

wrote an interesting novel : " Bahnwarter 
Thiel" (Thiel the Railway-Guard). A simple 
railway-guard is left a widower with an only 
child, who was specially entrusted to his care 
by the dying mother. To fulfil his promise 
he marries again, a strong, robust lass who 
soon has the command of the house. More 
and more drawn to her by mere sexual attrac- 
tion, he has not the power to resist the ill- 
treatment of his child. Finally, through her 
carelessness, it is killed by a train. His passion 
suddenly rises to frenzy. He kills her and 
her child. The neighbours discover him and 
find him mad. Naturalistic in structure, there 
are almost lyrical descriptions of the beautiful 
forests round Berlin, and passages almost 
psychic when the simple-minded railway- 
guard gives himself up in his solitude to the 
worship of his deceased wife. 

Eleven years afterwards, in 1898, Gerhart 
Hauptmann took up this story again and 
welded it into one of his best social dramas — 
" Fuhrmann Henschel." Again the technique 
is of naturalistic exactitude, filled with re- 

His Work from 1889-1912 31 

miniscences of Hauptmann's own home. Here 
a dying wife makes her husband promise 
not to marry again. Yet he finds it 
necessary to break his promise, the woman 
being the very servant girl to whom his 
former wife had objected. The buxom wench 
has a past, and soon turns her attention to 
another man. In the meantime, just as in the 
novel, the man's appetites more and more 
take possession of him. But there is a differ- 
ence between the novel and the drama : the 
former treated of a purely individual psycho- 
logical problem ; here we have a social problem. 
Henschel's existence is inseparably bound up 
with his social respectability. By his wife's 
reckless effrontery and his own pitiful weakness 
it is gradually destroyed. We have here a 
character like the father in Hebbel's " Maria 
Magdalene." Henschel's fate is the more 
tragic because he feels himself responsible 
for his lost social honour and even, perhaps, 
for the death of his first child, who follows 
its mother to the grave in a short time. He 
has broken the word he had pledged,-4ie has 

32 Gerhart Hauptmann 

violated his honour. Again we are confronted 
with occult elements which already appeared 
in the short story. The departed wife's 
shade haunts him, he blames himself for all 
that has happened, and finally he dies. With 
great skill Hauptmann has contrived to weld 
together the social miUeu and the portrait of 
an individual driven step by step to his own 

He set himself a similar task five years after- 
wards, in 1903, in " Rose Bernd." Again we 
see an individual character, this time a woman 
is indissolubly connected with its social milieu, 
and its whole structure predestined by it to its 
own doom. It is again the story of Hebbel's 
" Maria Magdalene." A full-blooded young 
woman, instinctively resenting marriage with 
her destined suitor, who is a consumptive, 
becomes involved with the bailiff of the village. 
He is a man in the prime of life, whose wife 
has been bedridden for ten years, and he 
sincerely loves the strong and healthy girl. To 
cover her fall, she yields to a sensual villain, 
thereby injuring her social honour in the 


His Work from 1889-1912 3^ 

attempt to shield it. The villain boasts of his 
success, and her honest, somewhat pharisaical, 
father insists on a libel action. She commits 
perjury, and finally ends as the murderess of 
her newly-born babe. By an absolutely irre- 
sistible necessity she is driven onand, 
she comes to this final deed. / This development 
of character within the iron confines of her 
socialjbasi^ is most perfect dramatic art, and 
what is more, (J&auptmann's characters are 
living beings of flesh and bone, and not mere ^ 
exemplifications of ideas. In creating them, 
Hauptmann can avail himself of the fruits of '^ 
his long-continued studies in sculpture. His !> 
artistic eye sees men and situations corporeally, 
not as mere shadowy spectres. It may happen 
that they are only carved out in relief, but 
they are always individual and characteristic. . 
Plastic imagination which he once pronounced,/ 
tobe " the essential happiness of human , f^ 
cognisance," is also the essential feature of his^^^ 
mind. <^ 

The best example of it is perhaps the chief 
female character in Hauptmann's recent play, 

34 Gerhart Hauptmann 

which may also be called a social drama, " Die 
Ratten " (The Rats), produced in 191 1 in 
Berlin. It clearly shows how the social sur- 
roundings influence the character, the whole 
attitude towards life and its most profound 
problems. The longing of a mother for a child 
to replace her first-born which had died soon 
after birth, strengthened by the concurrence 
of the wishes of her dearly-beloved husband, 
grow more and more, and finally gain 
possession of all her thoughts. She contrives 
to get a newly born, fatherless babe, and at 
last connives at the death of the rightful 
mother when she asserts her claim to the child. 
The discovery of the whole tragedy involves 
her own death. The story is curiously and, 
it must be said, often too lightly linked with a 
parallel story in the play of a stage Director, 
his daughter and her lover. But this parallel 
story in its humorous structure adds the most 
effective contrast to the sombre tragedy we 
witness. Besides, it affords us the most in- 
teresting information about Hauptmann's own 
life. In more than one way he is the lover 

His Work from 1889-1912 35 

of the Director's daughter. The model for 
the father is his own teacher, Hessel, with 
whom he studied acting when he came to 
BerHn. He himself is Spitta, the lover with 
the defect in speech, who resents all hollow 
rhetoric. Brahm, the first discoverer of the 
genius in *' Vor Sonnenaufgang," late manager 
of the Lessing Theater, where all the plays of 
Hauptmann are first produced, did not allow 
it in his theatre. The character of Spitta in 
the play enunciates Hauptmann's conception 
of Art, when he considers acting to be a 
" valueless accident in the drama," when he 
negatives " poetic justice, guilt and punish- 

ment," when he thinks that * '(According to 
circumstances a carter or a charwoman from 
the slums may be just as good a subject for 
tragedy as Lady Macbeth and King Lear/^ 
*' Before Art, as before Law, all men are 
equal." Of course, there is not an absolute 
identification of Spitta and Hauptmann, but 
only of an epoch in Hauptmann's Hfe, 
namely, in 1885 when he intended to become 
an actor, and had the same convictions as 

36 Gerhart Hauptmann 

those put forth by H. Hart, in the *' Critical 
Duels/' of the same year — " return to young 
Goethe, to Lessing, to Diderot." Both have 
the same emotional basis, that effervescence 
for the " Special, Sombre, Great," and that 
confidence that " In ourselves He the germs." 
But especially the ethical structure of both is 
alike. Spitta feels the same burning pity for 
the poorest on earth which we have noted 
already in Sehn, the hero of the " Prome- 

\- thidenlos." These religious ethics pervade 
Hauptmann's character and determine his 
attitude towards life. Thus the " Ratten," 
excellent as it is in its relentless tragedy, in its 
most pathetic and yet most human portrait of 
Frau John, is of great personal value. 

The comic element here is well used to set 
forth the chief tragedy. The play is called 
" Tragicomoedie." But Hauptmann has also 

V treated social problems in purely comic 
technique, and in this way gave us what may 
well be called the best modern comedy in 
German literature — " Der Biberpelz " (The 
Beaver Coat). The contrast of bare reahty 

His Work from 1889-1912 ^^^ 

with the presumptuous honesty of the heroine 
of the play, the washerwoman, Mrs. Wolff, 
produces the most comic effect. Hauptmann 
realizes that the field of the comic is the in- 
tellect, and he contrives to raise the aspect of 
all actions to this level, in order to prevent any 
ethical and moral ill-feeling from damaging its 
humour. He therefore chooses an old literary 
device — a scene in court — to form the setting 
of a comedy. The contrast of the blind and 
pretentious judge with the clever washerwoman 
who is the moving spirit in everything and 
pretends to know nothing, is perfect comedy. 
All thefts, at first the wood — the policeman 
unwittingly assisting the thief — then the fur 
coat, are committed by Mrs. Wolff, and yet the 
honest soul is never suspected. It is a scene 
of thrilling humour, when we see together 
in court the judge, the thief, the owner of the 
stolen goods, its receiver, the wrongly suspected, 
and the thief, Mrs. Wolff, the only calm one 
of the lot, domineering by her acknowledged 
Eight years afterwards, in 1901, Hauptmann 

38 Gerhart Hauptmann 

took up this subject again, and wrote the 
tragi-comedy " Der Rote Hahn " (The Red 
Cock). It naturally loses in comparison with 
the former play, which lifted the spectator 
up to the serene sphere of humour, from which 
lofty point of vantage everything in the seg- 
ment of the world which the poet shows us 
looks small and trifling, and where our feelings 
find vent in joyous and cheerful laughter. 
In the new play Hauptmann deliberately sets 
himself another aim — he emphasizes much 
more the ethical aspect of Mrs. Wolff's charac- 
ter, and thereby leads us into the field of 
tragedy. This, of course, is artistically fully 
justified. But he does not fully succeed in 
bringing out the tragedy, and loses the effect 
of the comedy. On the other side, it must be 
acknowledged that we are biassed by the 
strength of the former comedy to expect the 
old Mrs. Wolff in her cherished portrait, and 
arc disappointed when we discover features 
unknown hitherto. 

His Work from 1889-1912 39 

2. Family Dramas 

These social dramas form one part of 
Hauptmann's art. But his is a strong in- 
dividuality. And he had not in vain lived 
among those young Berlin writers of the 
Club " Durch/' on whom Max Stirner, that 
famous individualist, already exerted a 
great and deep influence, and where, later, 
the star of Nietzsche's individualistic creed 
rose to unparalleled heights. It is only 
natural then that Gerhart Hauptmann should 
take a profound and serious interest in the 
handUng of individuahstic problems. JQie 
outcom e of it is a series of-so^called Family 
Dramas. The first of them is " Das Friedens*. 
fest " (The Coming of Peace), dedicated to the 
great German novelist, Theodore Fontane, 
who, from the outset, had recognized Haupt- 
mann's genius. As its motto it bears on the 
title-page a passage from Lessing : ** They 
find action in no tragedy but that in which 
the lover kneels down, etc. It has never struck 


40 Gerhart Hauptmann 

them that every internal conflict of passions, 
every sequence of antagonistic thoughts, where 
one annihilates the other, may also be an 
action ; perhaps they think and feel too 
mechanically to be conscious of any activity. 
To refute them seriously were fruitless labour." 
These words of Lessing approach very closely 
to those which Hauptmann himself uses in the 
preface to the first collected edition of his works 
in 1906. It shows how much the young play- 
wright of 1890, whom everybody believed to be 
a revolutionary in dramatic art, was in accord 
with the classical exponent of dramatic tech- 
nique. TAfter October 20, 1889, however, Gerhart 
Hauptmann's name stood for that of the prophet 
of naturalism and the apostle of ugliness^ " Das 
Friedensfest," his second drama, was pubhshed 
in 1890. He takes up the problem of heredity, 
already touched upon in his first play, and 
handling it with perfect technique, focusses 
all the interest on one family. 

Later on, in the diary of his Greek voyage, 
Hauptmann reiterates the problem in another 
connexion, showing how deeply he was affected 

His Work from 1889-1912 41 

by it. — " I am convinced that deep antagonism 
between near relatives is to be counted amongst 
the most gruesome phenomena of human 
psychology. In such struggles it may happen 
that ardent love and ardent hatred run parallel 
— that love and hatred are to be found in each 
of the combatants at the same time and of the 
same strength. This produces the exquisite 
tortures and the endlessness of such conflicting 
emotions. Love makes them eternal, hate 
alone would soon bring them to decision. What 
could be more terrible than the strangeness of 
those who know each other." 

No doubMn these family dramas_Gerhart 
Haupt mann is the best d isciple of Henrik X* 
Ibsen. In the play in question various 
members of a family who have been scattered 
all over the world by their irreconcilable 
individual hereditary characters, meet together 
to celebrate Christmas, the day of peace. 
All at first seems to be harmonious, but. 
immediately the different characters move 
one against the other. There is an atmo- 
sphere throu ghout the play, like a heavy. 

42 Gerhart Hauptmann 

summer day, the clouds veiling the sky mor e 
and more like a black, impenetrable wall, 
until the flash of lightning disperses them. 
The unique tragic effect is unrivalled in 
Hauptmann's other plays. 

" Das Friedensfest " is the best example of 
how the naturalistic drama drifts against the 
iron limits of the rules of French classical drama. 
Within a few hours, from afternoon to eveuing, 
in the same room, the tragedy develops and 
comes to an end. In dramatic concentration 
it is only to be compared with Ibsen's best 
plays. It also shows Ibsen's technique in 
throwing light from opposite sides on the same 
problem in successive dramas. In Haupt- 
mann's first drama the healthy Loth forsakes 
Helene, who is foredoomed by heredity. 
Now the pessimistic gloom is inverted. Wilhelm 
is the son of his broken-down father with all 
his morbid nervousness. His brother Robert 
openly tells him of the taint. He himself 
despairs ; but his betrothed, who is strong 
and healthy, trusts him entirely. She throws 
in her lot with his, and declares herself de- 

His Work from 1889-1912 43 

pendent on him. This unwavering confidence 
will restore his strength and health, if this be 
possible. Of course, Hauptmann does not 
bluntly tell us it does, but we are impressed 
with this absolutely optimistic conviction. 
He leaves room for the wiseacres to discuss the 
issue and future development. Perhaps it would 
have been more discussed than it actually was 
if they had not got weary of such problems 
after the storm Ibsen's " A Doll's House " 
had excited. If nothing else, the principle that 
to support the weak strengthens the supporter 
himself, clearly proves that Hauptmann did 
not absolutely side with the selfish considera- 
tions of Loth in his first play. It is a principle 
of truly Christian ethics. Hauptmann, even 
then, does not seem to have been much im- 
pregnated by the anarchical doctrines of Max 
Stirner, Nietzsche's forerunner, who, however, 
had ardent supporters in the Club " Durch," 
as for instance John Henry Mackay, the lyrical 
poet of Scotch origin. There is some relief 
in this Christian optimism from the sombre, 
tragic"^tmosphere which enshrouds the^glay. 


44 Gerhart Hauptmann 

which is never cleared, not even by 
charmingly simple song as : 

*' Wenn im Hag der Lindenbaum 
Wieder bliiht, 

Huscht der alte Friihlingstraum 
Durch mein treu Gemiit ! '* 

It is like a sudden blue speck in the over- 
clouded sky. Asensitive n erv ousness domi- 
nates the various characters. This too is a 
sign of that time. 

It comes out more strongly in the next play, 
" Einsame Menschen " (Lonely Lives), of 1891, 
where the contemporary nervous strain senilis 
to be concentrated in the hero, Johannes 
Yockerat. Gerhart Hauptmann prefixed to it 
the sombre dedication, " I put this drama 
into the hands of those who have hved it." 
He has lived it. It has already been remarked 
how long he had to struggle until he found his 
own vocation. A good deal of himself lives 
in this Johannes Vockerat. He has broken the 
tradition of his paternal home, and thro\yn 
overboard his old beliel, ..iiit „^.whi^ was. 

His Work from 1889-1912 45 

broi^jpl up. He turned to the new gods 
hima up by natural science, by men like 
Charles Darwin, Ernst Haeckel, and Herbert 
Spencer. He is the type of those unsettled 
years_in_ the eighties and nineties. His wife is 
a tender, loving woman, who in vain struggles 
to free herself from the traditional bonds, 
to be to him the companion for whom his 
artistic soul is longing. And when he finally 
finds one in the student, Anna Mahr, he 
himself feels too weak to shake off the shackles, 
and drowns himself. Hauptmann himself has 
been strong enough to live the new life, he has 
fulfilled what Spitta promised. But it was 
not without the hardest of fights, just as it is 
foreseen at the close of the fragment " Aus den 
Memoiren eines Edelmannes " (From the 
Memoirs of a Nobleman), which Hauptmann 
published in the " Tag " on December 25, 

Here Jn our play there is already raised the 
same problem which was to be of the utmost 
significance for Hauptmann's own life — the. 
problem of the man placed between two women. 

46 Gerhart Hauptmann 

Here Johannes solves it in favour of his legal 
wife. But he perishes. A few years after- 
wards Hauptmann had to fight it out for 
himself. In 1905 he was divorced, and he 
subsequently married Margarethe Marschalk, an 
actress and violinist ; their son is now thirteen 
years old. It is obvious what a man of Haupt- 
mann's sensitive and impressionable character 
must have suffered in the preceding ten years, 
when he almost gave up talking to anybody — 
when even he would hardly see his most in- 
timate friends. At last, when all was over in 
1905, he set out for his long-desired Greek 
voyage, and we can now understand his hidden 
meaning as we read the passage quoted above. 
The problem did not leave his mind. He made 
another attempt to dispose of it in Goethe's 
manner. It was in 1907 that he wrote " Gabriel 
SchiUing's Flucht " (Gabriel SchilHng's Flight). 
When it was first published, in January, 1912, 
in the journal *' Die Neue Rundschau," it was 
significantly prefaced by the words : " The 
following drama was written in the year 1906. 
I have rather feared than desired its production. 

His Work from 1889-1912 47 

therefore it has not taken place. To-day I 
should not like to put the work to the hazard 
of a production. It is no affair for the general 
public, but for the purely passive and intimate 
attention of a small circle. My desire, which 
cannot be fulfilled, is for one single performance 
in the most perfect style, in the most intimate 
theatre." His desire was granted, for in the 
small theatre of Goethe, in Lauchstedt, his 
play was produced in the summer of 1912, 
before a select audience, by a perfect cast of 
actors, with scenery painted by the greatest 
living artist of Germany, Max Liebermann. It 
is now produced everywhere in Germany. An 
artist stands between his commonplace wife, 
whose interests are petty and materialistic, 
and the Russian, who has a son by him, and 
to whom he feels irresistibly drawn, although 
he acknowledges his own weakness. Haupt- 
mann himself had lived on the island of Riigen, 
to which Gabriel Schilhng fled to start a 
new and healthier life ; the catastrophe over- 
whelms him. 

There are singular beauties in this play, 


48 Gerhart Hauptmann 

such as the meeting of the rival women before 
the door of the dying artist. This spontaneous 
outburst of human nature reveals the great 
dramatist. But what I like best in the play is 
its unique and even atmosphere, like bracing 
sea air which enwraps the whole drama, as if 
^ it were a lyrical poem. 

y. \ Again, Hauptmann shows that his eye is 
;■, not only quick to see the tragic element in 
individual problems, but that he knows how 
to raise these problems to the level of humour. / 
His first comedy, ** Kollege Crampton," which 
he wrote in a few weeks during the year 1891, 
and which was inspired by Moli^re, is full proof 
of it. In most determined realism — he does not 
even disdain to give the broadest hints of the 
real persons standing behind the characters of 
the play — he draws the portrait of the Professor 
of Art in the Academy of Breslau, where he 
himself had been studying, and gives us the 
most delightful Rembrandtesque picture we 
could desire. Again, we see an artist descend- 
ing lower and lower and blaming his material 
istic wife for it. But yet there is hope. His 

His Work from 1889-1912 49 

guardian angel is his daughter, who finally, 
with the help of noble-minded friends — they 
bear the maiden name of Hauptmann's 
mother — rescues the drunkard from the slum 
and sets him up in a new life, and we feel con- 
fident he will not shame her. It is the lucid 
realism, the human sentiment and the deeply 
penetrating psychological intuition of Haupt- 
mann, as displayed in this comedy, that attract 
us so much. 

Once more it is the profound psychology 
which is prominent in the next drama of this 
series, "Michael Kramer," 1900. It is a double 
tragedy — the tragedy of ugliness and the 
tragedy of misunderstanding between father 
and son — again the horrible " antagonism of 
near relatives." The son is ugly and shuns 
society, as did Hauptmann himself, at that 
time feeling himself dishonoured and isolated. 
And yet in that ugly body there lives a burning 
desire for love. Everywhere rejected, by father 
and by the girl he loves, he despairs and dies. 
And the awakened father has to look into his 
grave and feel the great truth : " Death is 

50 Gerhart Hauptmann 

the mildest form of life : the masterpiece of the 
eternal love." The play is technically weak in 
some points, and yet its tragedy is overpower- 
ing in its prophetic insight into the human 

All these prose dramas show a characteristic 
which is one of their most distinguishing- 
features in comparison with the works ^ of 
preceding playwrights : the dialogue. Per- 
haps Ibsen's influence is nowhere more keenly 
felt than here. Ibsen, in the conciseness and 
pregnancy of his speech, had achieved what 
before was as good as unknown. The persons— 
of his drama speak as ordinary mortals, jdo ; 
there is no stilted rhetoric. They keep won^^ 
derfuUy clear of the insignificant speech of 
everyday life as naturalism demanded it, and _ 
from the clumsy literary jargon of earher 
dramatists. Here Hauptmann is a most 
successful follower of the great Norwegian. 

His Work from 1889-1912 51 

3. Fairy Dramas 

Ibsen's influence on Hauptmann's diction is, 
indeed, so strongly effective that it might al- 
most be said to reach into our author's verse 
dramas. For there is another side of Haupt- 
mann's dramatic genius which is unfolded in 
what he calls his " Fairy Dramas." There the 
lyrical strain of his artistic nature appears at its 
best. We have not many lyrical poems of his. 
An early volume — " Das Bunte Buch " — though 
sent to press, was not published. Some of the 
poems gathered therein are known — partly by 
Schlenther's excellent biography of Haupt- 
mann, partly by Fiedler's interesting collection 
in " The Oxford Book of German Verse," 
which also contains a preface by Gerhart 
Hauptmann — and to them we may add the 
charming and simple verses in the " Friedens- 

On the whole, Hauptmann seems to be denied 
the gift of purely lyrical expression. His 
poems, as far as we know them, fail to carry us 
away by an impression of spontaneity and 

52 Gerhart Hauptmann 

y\/ impetuosity. They are too full of intellectual ^ 
reflection. It is strange that he should lack 
the power of writing lyrics. For his Greek 
diary is supreme evidence of the naive and 
impressionable nature of his mind. As to the 
form, his Fairy Dramas reveal his mastery 
of poetic diction. In fact, his drama " Der 
Arme Heinrich " contains passages of the 
best verse in modern German literature. 
, And he certainly has the gift of creating 
j a uniform and harmonious atmosphere which, 
I after all, is perhaps the highest perfection 
i of a lyrical poem. He is so strongly gifted 
in this direction that it sometimes even 
endangers the realistic development of his 
dramatic plot. One might almost be tempted 
to divide his plays into two sections — lyrical 
and non-lyrical. To the former we would 
reckon his Fairy Dramas, but also plays like 
*' Die Jungfern vom Bischofsberg," or even 
*' Das Friedensfest " and " Gabriel Schilling's 
Flucht," in virtue of their unique atmosphere. 
Scenes like the love-scene in " Vor Sonnenauf- 
gang " are pearls of lyrical feeling. And yet 

His Work from 1889-1912 53 

Hauptmann will never rank with such true 
lyrical poets as Stephan George, or Rainer 
Maria Rilke. 

One of his best lyrical attempts is a poem of 
1887, " Im Nachtzug " (In the Night Express). 
There is plenty of power and splendid rhythm 
in it ; we read on and on, and are enraptured by 
the strength of its imaginative impulsiveness. 
Yet it cannot be denied that it has much more 
epic quality than lyrical delicacy. The epic 
stands much nearer to his profoundly in- 
tellectual genius. He himself declares that 
the dramatic and the epic are never clearly 
separated, just as little as the tendencies of 
time and space. (Greek Spring, p. 222.) 
This declaration is at the same time a refuta- 
tion of some of his biographers, like Bartels 
and Sulger-Gebing, who maintain that his 
special talent lies in the epic much more than 
in the drama. We might equally well conclude 
from the above-stated evidence that his 
chief gifts are for lyrical poetry. Gerhart 
Hauptmann is a dramatist, but he is more 
than that. He is a dramatic genius. If needs 

54 Gerhart Hauptmann 

be, he knows how to convey his message in 
epics as well as in lyrics. 

We have noticed how within the stereo- 
typing tendencies of naturahstism and the 
social tendencies of the age, a craving arose 
for the valuation of personality. The import- 
ance of the individual will power in an age 
of highly strung and practical activity must 

i^ necessarily lead to an artistic subjectivism. 
The strong-willed individual masters reality. 
Consequently the artistic personality scorns 
the observance of the external ; his own 
individuality gives aims and laws to his 
art. Art is the expression of the individual. 
This individualistic conception of Art is funda- 

' mentally romantic. And as the ideas, often only 
imperfectly felt and dimly conceived, cannot 
bear the cold dayhght of reaHty ; the artist 
creates and peoples a new world, and so sym- 
bolism comes into favour. Again, this new 
development, especially in its emphasis on 
formalism, was greatly assisted by foreign 
influence — Verlaine, Baudelaire, Maeterlinck, 
became known ; and in Italy too, Gabriele 

His Work from 1889-1912 55 

d'Annunzio. To the deep-rooted religious I 
sentiment of Gerhart Hauptmann symbolism, jr 
with its mystic elements, was bound to appeal. ' 
His feelings, especially in the years of 
inward conflict, strove for dramatic lyrical 
expression. The first play of this series is f 
"Hannele's Himmelf ahrt " (Hannele) of 1893 ; 
which he dedicated in beautiful words to j 
his first wife. It is permeated by the sincerity j/ 
of his social compassion. The simple story 
is of a motherless and cruelly treated child, 
who is driven to death, and in her last hours 
sees in visions the heavens open and the angels 
with the Saviour Himself descending to take 
her up to happier regions. The intermingling | 
of the crude reality and the golden vision is \ 
so artistic that we feel transported to the \ 
heavenly spheres, and we listen enraptured j 
to the song of the angels at the close of 
the play : 

" Auf jenen Hiigeln die Sonne, 
Sie hat dir ihr Gold nicht gegeben ; 
Das wehende Grun in den Talern, 
Es hat sich fiir dich nicht gebreitet." 

56 Gerhart Hauptmann 

(On yonder hills the sun, 

Hath given his gold but not to thee ; 

The waving green in the dales, 

It is not spread for thee.) 

But it must be admitted that it requires a very 
fine and skilful staging to produce the full 
artistic effect of the play. 

The next play, in 1893, is on a broad his- 
torical basis and falls out of the series. It is 
more a fragment of dramatised history than 
historical drama. The hero, the focus of the 
various dramatic tendencies, stands rather in 
the middle ground, whilst the foreground is 
\^occupied by a broadly-drawn movement of 
the Peasant Revolt during the Reformation. 
Hauptmann has devoted most earnest work 
to this play, and it abounds in elaborate and 
carefully studied details. This, in fact, rather 
damages the dramatic effect, as it takes away 
the bracing air of nature which such a subject 
demands, and leaves us the impression of study 
atmosphere. But it is a great, perhaps too 
great, conception to concentrate dramatically 
the antagonistic religious and social forces, 

His Work from 1889-1912 57 

and to focus them in the one towering 
personahty of the peasant leader, Florian 
^ Geyer, whose name gives the title to the play. 
It must be admitted that Hauptmann's genius 
has fallen short — he has failed to convey to 
us the grandeur of this leader. His strength 
was his weakness. His power of psychological 
insight misled him into giving us a line 
and most captivating study of a singular 
individuality, but perhaps he would have done 
better to draw an al fresco portrait. The play 
is full of the most exquisite beauty, and yet 
we sometimes feel that we hear mere words 
and miss the strong active personality behind 
them. It also is the best proof of Hauptmann's 
extraordinary conscientiousness in writing, 
Which we notice throughout his works, and 
which is shown by the innumerable sketch- 
books, " Cahiers '* bound in grey Hnen, and 
piled up in order round the wall of his high- 
vaulted study in Agnetendorf . 

Three years later Hauptmann published a 
sequence of six scenes, adapted from Grill- 
parzer's novel " Elga." Like Hannele, it is 

58 Gerhart Hauptmann 

a dream vision, framed in two scenes of 
reality. The four remaining scenes render 
most effectively the tragic fate of a husband 
too deeply in love with his idolized wife. He 
is betrayed by her and revenges himself on 
her and her lover. A simple story rendered 
thrilling by the vivid rapidity of the succession 
of events and by the impressive lucidity with 
which the figures stand out from the back- 
ground of dreamy vision. 

" Elga " is followed by *' Helios," in the 
same year — a dramatic fragment but a perfect 
treasure house of diction, permeated by deep 
pessimism, and yet filled with burning desire 
for strength, beauty, and freedom. " Helios " 
is the author's poetical confession, which is 
more clearly and concisely repeated in one of 
his few lyrical poems reprinted in Professor 
Fiedler's Anthology : 

" Wie eine Windesharfe sei deine Seele 
Dichter ! 
Der leiseste Hauch bewege sie ; 

Und ewig miissen die Saiten schwingen im Atem 
des Weltwehs> 

His Work from 1889-1912 59 

Denn das Weltweh ist die Wurzel der Himmels- 

Also steht deiner Lieder Wurzel begriindet im 

Weh' der Erde, 
Doch ihre Scheitel krone t Himmelslicht.'* 

Hauptmann's worldly woe is the root of his ^ 
longing for heaven. 

His third publication of the same year is 
the great drama " Die Versunkene Glocke '* *" 
(The Sunken Bell). This mirrors in wonderful , 
verse the inner conflict Hauptmann had to go 
through. It is again the artist with his soul's 
desire for all that is high, good, and beautiful, 
misunderstood by his associates, and most 
of all by his honest, commonplace wife. 
In the mountains, in the realm of spirits, he 
finds a companion, but the ties which hold 
him to the earth, and to his legal wife, are 
too strong for him ; he cannot liberate him- 
self ; he cannot fulfil his divine artistic mission. 
His great work of art, his bell, lies deeply 
buried in the mountain water. It will 
never be kissed to life by the golden sun. 

6o Gerhart Hauptmann 

His soul goes from him and his body dies. 
In death he finds his loving spirit ; the 
night is long, but the sun comes. The 
drama is Hauptmann's human and artistic 

It is followed two years later by the " Hirten- 
lied " (The Song of the Shepherds), again a 
dramatic fragment. The longing soul of the 
artist leaves his swamp of pessimistic despair 
and strives upwards towards the light of the sun. 
His ideal cannot be reached by resignation, it 
must be gained daily by the hardest endeavour 
and by self -conquest. But with his will his 
strength grows, and he lifts aside the heavy rock 
which prevents the parched crowd from satisfy- 
ing their thirst. " Hirtenlied " is the high song 
of Hauptmann's artistic longing. We hear iter- 
ated the note which is ringing through all 
Hauptmann's plays — the longing for the road 
"^ to freedom. So many may confess with the 
artist : ** Ich kann den Mut nicht finden, den 
mancher fand, den letztcn Mut ins Freie." 
The world of dreams may recompense us for 
the cruel reality as it does for poor Hannele. 

His Work from 1889-1912 6i 

Yet it is only meagre amends. The artist begs 
of the angel : 

" Willst Du mich fuhren, leite mich ins Helle ! 
Ins klare Sonnenlicht des frischen Tages ! 
Mit Traumen schreckst du mich. Lass endlich 

Den starken Morgan alles Traumgewolk 
Durchtrennen ! Gib mir jenes ganze Sein, 
Das keines Traums bedarf." 
(Wilt thou guide me, lead me to the light ! 
Into bright sunlight of gladsome day ! 
With dreams thou dost appal me. Let at last 
Strong morning part all dreamy clouds. 
Give me that whole existence, 
Which needs no dream.) 

In the next play of this series, published in 1900, 
Hauptmann again tries his power in comedy. 
In " Biberpelz" he followed his greatest German 
example, Kleist's " Der Zerbrochene Krug," 
and in " Kollege Crampton " the greatest 
French writer of comedy, Moliere, — now he goes 
back to Shakespeare and his " Taming of the 
Shrew." The motto on the title-page is the 

62 Gerhart Hauptmann 

translation of the last words in Shakespeare's 
Induction : 

'' Sly : What, household stuff ? 
Page : It is a kind of history. 
Sly : Well, we'll see't. Come, madam wife, 
sit by my side. 
And let the world slip : we shall ne'er 
be younger." 

The motive which since the " Arabian Nights " 
has run through the literature of the world — 
the deception of a peasant, so that he believes 
himself to be lifted to a high social sphere — is 
made use of by Hauptmann in his *' Schluck 
und Jau," a play of two simple-minded 
vagabonds who in their drunkenness are made 
to believe themselves princes whose every wish 
is fulfilled at once. There is closer kinship to 
Holberg's than to Shakespeare's treatment of 
the same subject. We must not criticize it too 
sharply, as the prologue itself says that it is 
only " the child of an easy humour." But the 
interweaving of reality and illusion shows great 
skill, and what raises the farce to a higher level 

His Work from 1889-1912 63 

is the undercurrent of Hauptmann's sincere 
sympathy with the poor and outcast. Haupt- 
mann seems to give himself up to con- 
tented resignation, and yet this note is 
not so strongly expressed as to interfere 
with the artistic aim, the hilarity of the 

C Two years later Hauptmann again pub- 
lished a confession. He himself is " Der 
Arme Heinrich." It is the outcome of his 
family conflict. We saw his portrait in the 
artist, Arnold Kramer. Like him Prince 
Heinrich is hideous in his illness and shuns 
human society. How deeply Hauptmann was 
affected is proved by this self-portraiture, 
where he describes the prince as a leper, an 
outcast whose vicinity everybody fears, and 
whom they hunt down like a wild beast. But 
his salvation came. The pure maiden, Ottegebe, 
who in her disinterested, innocent love is 
willing to sacrifice herself to save him, is the 
only one who never forsakes him. He has days 
and weeks of deepest despair. She is always 
his angel, and finally he throws aside his self- 

64 Gerhart Hauptmann 

confidence and self-reliance, and puts his 
whole fate in those fair hands. Through her 
he is purified, and gains new confidence for 
a fresh beginning : *' Let my falcons, my 
eagles, soar again ! " The play, which goes 
back to a legend of the Middle Ages, derived 
from Hartmann von Aue, is perhaps in beauty 
of diction and verse the most perfect of all 
Hauptmann's dramas. To give only one 
example, we quote the words Heinrich speaks 
to the monk Benedikt, to whom he has come 
in order to see Ottegebe : 

" Zum letzten Male denn : Monch, dieser Tag 
Hat mich gelehrt : so arm ist keiner, Gott 
Kann ihn noch armer machen. Denn wo nahm 
Ein Rauber je dem alios, der nichts hat ! ? — 
Wohl, wohl, das Kind ist tot ! sie ist gestorben, 
Ist hin. — Als mir ein weisser Lazarus 
Die Mar*, wie sie gestorben ist, erzahlte — 
Dass ihr das Herz brach um den siechen Herm ! — 
Da stiess ich mit der Macht des Wahnsinns nieder 
Den furchterlichen Schrei, der in mir rang, 
Und schwieg — und glaubt' es nicht. Dann aber 

His Work from 1889-1912 65 

Die Fusse mir ! Wohin ? Ich wusst' es nicht : 
Durch Felder, durch Gestriipp, bergauf, talunter, 
Durchs Rinnsal wild geschwoUener Bache, bis 
Ich hier an dieser letzten Schwelle stand. 
Warum denn lief ich ? — Welcher goldener Preis 
Liess mich so springen, einem Laufer gleich ? 
Was dacht* ich hier zu finden ? War es nicht, 
Als riss' ein Feuerwirbel jah mich fort ? 
Als war ich selbst ein Brand, ein wilder Haher, 
Der schreiend und brennend durch die Walder 

f ahrt ? 
Mir war . . . rings klang die Luf t : sie ist nicht 

Sie lebt ! — Dein klein Gemahl ist nicht gestor- 

ben ! — 
Und dennoch . . . dennoch starb sie." 

In Robert Browning's poem " Pippa Passes *' 
we read : " Cannot you tell me something of 
this little Pippa I must have to do with ? One 
could make something of that name." Haupt- 
mann did make something of it, and gave 
us in 1906 what is, in spite of certain short- 
comings, a beautiful fairy drama, " Und Pippa 
Tanzt " (And Pippa Dances). There is not 
much relation between Browning's and Haupt- 

66 Gerhart Hauptmann 

mann's creation, and it is futile to trace 
parallels. Hauptmann's drama is the un- 
restrained revelation of his never-dying, ardent 
N desire for beauty. He is the young, dreamy 
and visionary lad who follows Pippa, the ideal 
of beauty, catches her and loses her again, and 
will go on in search of her to his life's end. 
Hauptmann himself has told us much of his 
conception. " I wanted to put the symbol of 
beauty in its power and transitoriness in the 
centre of the play. That this symbol symbol- 
ized itself for me in ghttering, fragile glass, 
iridescent, and ever changing, that I created 
this fairy tale merely depends on the im- 
pressions which I received from the land 
on which I was born, in which I grew up 
and lived. The chief character is called Pippa ; 
involuntarily I thought hereby of the most 
famous of all dancers, of Pepita ; her father 
was called Tagliazoni ; the similarity of name 
with Taglioni is an accidental one, for I have 
never heard anything of this dancer before. 
My work deals, in spite of its fairy dress, 
with dramatic happenings which may, and 

His Work from 1889-1912 67 

must be, kept separate from all symbolism. 
Pippa is the daughter of an Italian glass- 
blower, an evil type of man whom she, 
although he is her father, cannot love. From 
the fields of Venice, from Murano, the place 
of the noblest art in glass, they were driven 
to the rough North, and the young, graceful, 
and beautiful creature charms all who approach 
her. The manager of the glassworks, who brags 
of his money, courts her ; the old, poor, robust 
Huhn wants to get possession of her ; the 
travelhng artizan, Michel Hellriegel, is fasci- 
nated by her, and he wins her heart, since her 
father, the cheat, is slain by those whom he 
has cheated in the game, and the old Huhn 
forcibly carries her off to his decayed glass- 
works. Michel becomes her rescuer ; he liber- 
ates her from the power of the giant, and flies 
with her in storm and rain into the mountains. 
The fugitives reach a snow-covered hut, in 
which Wann, a mild and wise old man, lives, 
and he too, the enlightened man who has done 
with the charms of life, succumbs to the power 
of Pippa. Then Huhn enters : by his brutal 

68 Gerhart Hauptmann 

force he crushes, and kills the tender Pippa; and 
poor Michel, who becomes blind from grief, 
sees, in his fancy, in the snowy desert of the 
Silesian Mountains the golden palaces, the 
emerald beauties of Venice for which he has 
been unconsciously longing." So far the 
actual contents as the play is seen on the stage. 
But then Hauptmann gives us the key to the 
hidden meaning underlying it. 

" In all of us there lives something for which 
our souls desire ; we all seek for something 
which dances to and fro before our souls in 
beautiful colours and graceful movements. 
This something we will call Pippa. She is a 
young beauty, for whom are seeking all in 
whom imagination has not yet been extirpated. 
The manager of the glassworks who desires her 
dreams of Titian, who is supposed to have a 
likeness to his uncle, the head forester ; the 
old Huhn is a primitive strong nature, a great 
artist, a brutal fellow, with brutal instincts 
for the enjoyment of beauty, an old corybant 
— thus I call him purposely — and the young 
travelling artizan, Michel Hellriegel, he is the 

His Work from 1889-1912 69 

symbol for that which lives in the soul of the 
German nation. He is the youth full of nawete 
and humble humour, full of hopes and longing, 
the youth who yields with humour to his tragic 
fate but who does not lose his illusions, for he 
lives on in them. The brutal force in my fairy 
tale, as so often in life, vanquishes the tender 
beauty, and, as if hypnotised, Pippa follows 
the ardent desire of Huhn, and dances and 
dances until she falls down, and is shattered. 
How many thousands of young, beautiful 
girls are in profane reality desired by old 
corybants and destroyed ? But Michel lives ; 
he it is who is nearest to our nation ; he will 
continue to seek for the ideal of beauty. And 
the beauty who, like Pippa, must expose her- 
self and dance before the mob, is slain by the 
mob as Pippa is by the old Kraftmensch Huhn. 
And Wann, whom I have designated as a 
mythical personality, he, the old man, who 
lives alone in the mountains, who, enlightened, 
looks down on things and men, he, the sage, 
who knows the depths of the earth and of 
mankind, he, too, still feels joy at youth 

70 Gerhart Hauptmann 

and beauty. He takes her up to protect her, 
but he cannot save her, since brutal force 
makes Pippa dance to death. 

" I did not want sophisticated reasoning, nor 
can others comprehend my fairy poem through 
it ; I wanted to express what I felt, what 
hovered aroimd me, what my imagination 
evoked of fairy charm and the long- 
ing for beauty, what captivated my soul. 
The external did not and does not matter to 
me ; I wanted only to liberate myself from 
what was rooted firmly in my mind ; I wanted 
to free myself from it when I wrote the poem, 
not by cool reflections, but in such a way as to 
make everything that lives in my heart rise 
ghtteringly by the charm of the ideal of beauty 
in many colours and in images of light. Now my 
dream has become reality and this forms my 
happiness ; perhaps someone may at some time 
understand fully my dream and my happiness ; 
perhaps the soul of the German nation will 
apprehend what I especially wanted to symbol- 
ize by the character of Michel. Yea, what 
was not hovering around me ! I thought of a 

His Work from 1889-1912 71 

marriage between the German genius, in the 
person of Michel, and the ideal of southern 
beauty as it is embodied in Pippa." So far 
Gerhart Hauptmann himself. (Printed in 
the " Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger, January 20th, 

<iMl this, however, does not matter so much 
as the fact that whoever sees or reads the 
play is deeply impressed by its singular beauty 
which lies beyond the world of hard fact, 
and lives in the realm of unintelligible, ir- 
rational feeling. 

Here we have the conception of the ideal 
love problem. In the next drama of 1908, 
" Kaiser Karl's Geisel " (Charlemagne's 
Hostage), Hauptmann handles the sex prob- 
lem. On one side we see the greatest man 
of his time, Charlemagne, on the threshold 
of old age. Yet he is a strong man, upright 
and proud. But advancing age — he is sixty 
— throws its shadows on his heart. He 
meets young Gersuind, the Saxon hostage, a 
wild daughter of nature. She is love itself. 
With all the superb freshness of girlhood she 

72 Gerhart Hauptmann 

is a mature woman, longing for the man. She 
does not meet the strong man who conquers 
her by his brutal, natural force. She gives her- 
self to all sorts of people, and yet does not find 
the only man for whom her womanly soul and 
body are crying. Charlemagne could be this 
man, but he feels constrained by his dignity. 
And here we see the tragedy of his greatness. 
Spring with all its desires once more comes 
over one who is sixty years old. Love in 
Gersuind, tempts him with all her charms, 
and he feels irresistibly drawn towards her. 
Yet he conquers himself, and by this act kills 
his rejuvenated feelings and the cause, the 
love, which aroused them. Gersuind disgraces 
both herself and the Kaiser, who neglects his 
duties owing to his partiality for her. She is 
poisoned by the Chancellor, and Charlemagne 
has to stand at her bier, as Michael Kramer 
stood at his son's. The psychological repre- 
sentation of these two characters is singularly 
convincing. The strength of the undirected 
craving of the woman in her prime, which 
pours forth like a mighty torrent, is in- 

His Work from 1889-1912 ^^ 

stinctively felt ; and the tragedy of the great 
man, who, just at the decline, has to sacrifice 
his second youth, is most pathetic. The 
humaneness of the great character appeals to 
us, and we admire him when we see that he is 
broken down but rouses himself and once more 
returns to active service in his calling. Haupt- 
mann found the subject of this " Legenden- 
spiel," as he calls it, in "Le sei giornate" of 
Sebastiano Erizzo, a sixteenth-century writer. 
He himself tells us in the words, with which he 
prefaces his drama : " Scrivesi adunque, che 
il re Carlo, il quale il Francesi col cognome di 
Magno agguagliano a Pompeo ed ad Alessan- 
dro, nel regno suo ferventemente s'innamoro 
d'una giovane, la quale, per quanto agli occhi 
suoi pareva, ogni altra del regno di Francia di 
bellezza in quei tempi trapassava. In questo 
re di si fervente amore acceso di costei, cosi 
perduto, ed ebbe Tanimo cosi corrotto dalle sue 
tenere carezze e lascivie, che non curando il 
danno, che per tal cagione nella fama e nell' 
onore ricevea, ed abbandonati i pensieri del 
governo del regno ..." 

74 Gerhart Hauptmann 

A similar problem is treated in " Griselda " 
of 1909. The strong woman must be captured 
by the strong man. It is the old saga of 
Brynhild and Siegfried. Nothing and nobody 
is allowed to stand between them. Man's love 
is unrestrictedly egotistic ; woman's love is 
wider — the problem of motherhood enters 
into its realm. Out of this difference arises 
the conflict. But Griselda's love for her 
husband proves to be strong enough to over- 
come all his egotistic doubts. The husband 
and wife join again after their cruel separation ; 
cruel to both of them. How deeply Haupt- 
mann looks into the problem ! Their too in- 
tense love inflicts infinite harm upon each of 
them. It has been said that our author depicts 
here a pathological extravagance of matri- 
monial love, yet an authority like Ellen Key 
says, when speaking of Maeterlinck's and 
Verhaeren's perfect married lives : ** Maeter- 
linck's as well as Verhaeren's marriage is 
childless. This, perhaps, is a reason for the per- 
fection to which these marriages have attained, 
a perfection which, elsewhere, is only shown 

His Work from 1889-1912 75 

in the poems and letters of the Browning 
couple. For it is due to the consequences of 
Hmitation in time and space, which no love 
can annihilate, that where there are children 
the married people can rarely cherish and 
cultivate their love in every detail." And 
besides, an author is surely entitled to show us 
exceptional characters, exceptional here in 
their overflow of mutual love. Hauptmann 
treats the story of Boccaccio in most effective 
realistic scenes. Like the preceding dramas, 
" Griselda " is rather loose in its structure and 
not mature enough. Yet he who can write the 
opening scene of " Griselda " with its realistic 
colouring of overflowing vitality cannot be 
denied the gift of true dramatic genius. 

These are all of Gerhart Hauptmann 's 
dramas. We may confidently look forward 
to a new play with the Greek Odysseus 
Legend as its basis. Already he has given a 
public reading of the Telemachus scene, which 
he wrote in a sort of trance when on his voyage 
to Greece he visited in the spring of 1906 the 
beautiful island of Corfu. On what we know 

76 Gerhart Hauptmann 

of it from his own words in his Greek diary, 
we may base great expectations, especially in 
regard to the scenes of the shepherd Eumaios, 
which may show his power of depicting quiet 
rural scenes. 

4. Survey of Hauptmann' s Dramatic Art 

Surveying the dramatic development in the 
nineteenth century, we find apparently the 
old truth that history repeats itself. The 
years 1830 and 1880 are both landmarks which 
indicate a new era. The fourth and the ninth 
decade of the last century are revolutionary 
periods in the history of German literature. 
In 1834 L. Wienbarg published his new code of 
literary conviction, the " -Esthetic Campaigns " 
(^sthetische Feldzlige) ; in 1882 the brothers 
Hart did the same in their ** Critical Duels " 
(Kritische Waffengange), followed three years 
later by Karl Bleibtreu's " Revolution der 
Literatur." In both cases, the young genera- 
tion consciously broke away from the old 
ideals to hail the new. But there is a fun- 

His Work from 1889-1912 77 

damental difference between these epochs 
— 1830 marks the end of a development, 
1880 the beginning. 1832 is the year of 
Goethe's death, and with it synchronizes the 
reverberating death-knell of romantic litera- 
ture. In 1 83 1 the last great representative 
of German idealism, Hegel, died. Gradually 
this grandest treasure which German thought 
had ever acquired faded away after his death. 
Materialism took its place. Such men as 
Moleschott and Biichner dethroned Kant and 
Goethe. The ebb of the tide was about 1880. 
The strong will-power embedded in Bismarck's 
life-work began to tell. As 1830 saw the be- 
ginning of the end of German idealism, so 1880 
saw the beginning of its revival. In 1850 it was 
dead, in 1900 it was alive and is still flourish- 
ing. The period of German classical literature 
preceded 1830, the period of utter drought 
preceded 1880. Therefore the revolution of 
1830 in its literary achievement failed, as 
it was doomed to fail from the outset. The 
circumstances accompanying these revolu- 
tions are different in each case. The more 


78 Gerhart Hauptmann 

they differ the brighter are the auspices of 
the result, and Gerhart Hauptmann is a strong 

The great triumvirate, Friedrich Hebbel, 
Otto Ludwig, Richard Wagner, all of whom 
were born in 1813, belong, of course, with 
their works to the barren epoch from 1830 to 
1880. But their actual fame only dawned 
towards the end of that period, and more 
strongly after 1880. Franz Grillparzer's name 
must be linked to theirs. These are the men 
who carried on the great tradition. Gerhart 
Hauptmann is their heir. He availed him- 

"^ self of the indisputable enrichments which 
materialism had produced: the careful ob- 

« servance of detail. Naturalism is the daughter 
of materialism and, together with Ibsen's 
influence, is the most important element in 

^ shaping Hauptmann's style. It seems to 
me idle to discuss whether his talent lies 
more in the realistic or in the romantic drama, 
more in prose dramas or those which are in 

^ verse. His mastery of diction, be it prose or 
verse, is perfect, and in this he is indebted to 

His Work from 1889-1912 79 

Naturalism and to Ibsen. Its concise pregnancy ^ 
is unthinkable without them. His early ^ 
dramas are the best proof of this. In their real- 
istic style monologues and asides are tabooed. 
But just as we saw the naturalistic drama drift 
toward the stringent rules of French classical 
tragedy, so this realistic style drifts towards 
symbolism. Complete sequences of thought ■ X 
cannot be expressed by words. They have to 
be acted. The pantomime enters into the play. ^ y 
The author has to write long stage directions. ' 
These are significant of all naturalistic or ^.- 
reahstic dramas. An attempt has been made 
to prove, by their evidence, that Hauptmann's 
best talent lies in the epic field. All play- 
wrights of modern realistic dramas side with 
him in this. I will refer, for example, to 
Granville Barker's "The Voysey Inheritance," 
and to Galsworthy's " Justice." But the idea 
is not new. Diderot, to whom the brothers 
Hart, in their *' Critical Duels," refer often 
enough, had already recognized the great 
emotional power that lies in mute acting on 
the stage. And it is not a bad sign that modern 


80 Gerhart Hauptmann 

German literature in general, and Gerhart 
Hauptmann in particular, should definitely go 
back to Lessing and Diderot, who heralded the 
classical period of German literature. It is 
their uncompromising sincerity which reigns 
throughout Hauptmann's works. In the rela- 
tively short period of the twenty-three years 
from 1889 to 1912, he has published no less 
than twenty-two dramas, besides other works, 
and we are never struck by an insincere note 
in them or by a feeble and shallow com- 
promise. Although he does not, as we have 
seen, sacrifice " carrement I'humanite a I'ar- 
tiste," he does not neglect the artistic require- 
ynents. Assuredly his works are not all of 
equal merit. It is true that he sends works to 
the press which ought to have been retained 
longer and which are not ripe for publication in 
all their details. These faihngs are the result 
of an overflowing wealth of productive power, 
but they are failings nevertheless. " Die Jung- 
fern vom Bischofsberg," '* Kaiser Karls 
Geisel," " Griselda," and others, with all their 
undeniable artistic qualities, afford proof 

His Work from 1889-1912 8i 

enough of this. Yet there is no better exponent 
of Zola's demand that there must be a person- 
ality in a work of art, or else it is none : "II 
faut que je retrouve un homme dans chaque 
oeuvre, ou I'oeuvre me laisse froid." 

II. Novels 

/ But the dominant chord of his soul is his I / 
sympathy with the poor and unfortunate* The \J 
sincerity of his social and ethical feelings gives ^ 
them the dignity of religion. * In his young 
days at Erkner Hauptmann called himself zxy^ 
atheist. And yet there could hardly be found 
a more religious character than his. We have 
noted how in his youth he was impressed by 
Moravian surroundings. Afterwards he may be 
said to have been influenced, probably uncon- 
sciously, by the strong wave of modern Spinoza- 
ism. Just as Spinoza was charged with irreligion, 
though the fundamental ethical bias of his 
life and theory is of such profound sincerity 
that one is entitled to identify his ethics with 
religion, so Gerhart Hauptmann in the ethical 

82 Gerhart Hauptmann 

\^i basis of his character may truly be called 
I religious. In various other ways, too, parallels 
-could be drawn between Spinoza and Haupt- 

\niann. To note only one — I will refer to their 
love of nature. We need only think of the great 
scientist and founder of the monistic creed, 
Haeckel, who so deeply influenced Hauptmann, 
to see at once how and by whom Gerhart 
Hauptmann was led to Spinoza. In the thought 
of Spinoza lay perhaps the strongest inducement 
\ for Hauptmann to leave the purely materialistic 
creed, or rather to permeate it with spirit- 
ualism. In this respect he is a true adherent 
to the newly-revived German idealism as 
founded by Lessing, Herder, Kant, Goethe, 
Schiller. The same undogmatic pietism 
which in its union with Leibnitz's philosophy 
created the so-called German idealism, was 
equally an influence on his mind. And we also 
^aw that he regained the practical and social 
(interest which is inseparable from the en- 
hghtenment of the eighteenth century, and 
which it had so soon lost in Germany. How 
this affects him we may see in his dramas. In 


His Work from 1889-1912 83 

" Before Sunrise " Helene lives in her Moravian 
reminiscences ; we experience the religious 
conflict in " Lonely Lives " ; we are thrilled 
by the pathetic portrait of the pious weaver 
who is shot in '* The Weavers " ; we see poor 
Hannele's heavenly visions ; the grand struggle 
of the Reformation rises before us in " Florian 
• Geyer " ; the " Sunken Bell " chimes in with 
its religious tunes ; and so it goes on. 

But Hauptmann has also directly attacked 
this religious problem in his great novel 
" Emanuel Quint, Der Narr in Christo " (The 
Fool in Christ). Nowhere in the whole range 
of modern German fiction do we see greater 
power of psychological insight than here. 
All his knowledge and understanding of his 
native Silesian country is welded together in 
an unrivalled study of the wretched social 
conditions of the poor weavers. In these sur- 
roundings Emanuel Quint grows up, one of the 
poorest of the poor. Early in his youth he 
feels himself impelled by an inner force to 
preach the Gospel of the loving Saviour. 
Soon he finds followers. The utter poverty 


84 Gerhart Hauptmann 

and distress of the weaving district is the best 
soil to foster the longing for heavenly love. 
^The disinherited expect the coming of the 
• Lord. Their dearth of material comforts 
makes them long for the reign of heaven. The 
inner voice of the leader and the confidence 
of his followers strengthen each other. Gradu- 
ally religious mania takes possession of Quint's 
whole personality. Persecution only deepens 
his self-confidence and increases the number 
of his disciples. In the prison cell his 
mania reaches the climax when in a 
vision he sees the Saviour Himself entering 
his own body. He is now Christ Himself. 
This vision, essential as it is for the psycho- 
logical development of the present novel, is 
already anticipated in Hauptmann's early short 
story " Der Apostel " (The Apostle), where he 
sketches a religious maniac. The end of the 
novel perhaps falls off somewhat, but it never 
lacks interest. Hauptmann here lays down 
the principles of his religion, which is a 
sort of primitive Christianity on a demo- 
cratic, social basis. He preaches the religion 

His Work from 1889-1912 85 

of pure, disinterested love, which SeUn, the 
hero of his first pubHshed work, " Promethi- 
denlos," had offered to the outcasts of the 
NeapoHtan slums. Hauptman's whole Hfe 
and work seem to be mirrored in this novel, 
just as his pious aunt JuHe Schubert is the 
model of the " vivacious Christian," Julie 
Schneibler. He himself appears in the story 
as the faithful chronicler, who is supposed to 
tell us Emanuel Quint's life just as it happens. 
He is that Kurt Simon who feels drawn so 
irresistibly to poor Emanuel, the seeker after 
God. In one of his early poems, reprinted by 
Paul Schlenther, he asks : 

" Nie noch sah ich unsre Gottheit, 
Die uns schiitzt und die uns fiihret. 
Sage mir, wie denk ich jenen 
Gott mir ? Zeige mir den Gott ! '* 

It would lead us too far afield to comment on 
every character of the novel, which is the 
confession of our author, and shows at its 
best the brilliancy of his art. We can only 
notice the pathological truth of the portrait 
of Ruth, the gardener's daughter, or of the 

86 Gerhart Hauptmann 

unparalleled and convincing characters of the 
brothers Scharf, who stand out like a Rem- 
brandt portrait. There is too great a plenitude 
of beauty to permit of a detailed consideration 
of the novel. One has to read and re-read 
it, and even what at first seemed to be 
dragging will be found to be full of wisdom 
and suggestive remarks. The more we read it, 
the more we unmask the chronicler who stands 
behind it, and the more we recognize what a 
profound and sincere thinker Gerhart Haupt- 
mann is. We begin to understand the source 
of his dramatic genius. He himself has said : 
*' Thinking is fighting; therefore dramatic." 

The next and last novel of Gerhart Haupt- 
mann's is again entirely personal. Its title is 
*' Atlantis," partly because its scene is on the 
Atlantic and in America, partly because it 
reveals the longing of the central figure for 
a new country, hidden as yet like simken 
Vineta. The novel is loose in its construc- 
tion and, in various places, lacks motive; 
it is artistically deficient, yet it compensates, 
as Hauptmann's works always do, by its 

His Work from 1889-1912 ^y 

personal value. Hauptmann is more than 
merely the possessor of an artistic technique ; 
he is a man. He longs to solve the riddle of the 
universe and, to this end, the riddle of his own 
life. He sounds his own theme when the hero 
of the present novel proposes, as his future task 
in life, to explain the words Schopenhauer 
has left open in " Die Welt als Wille und Vor- 
stellung " : " Behind our existence there is 
hidden something which is made accessible 
to us only if we shake off the world." All his| . 
works are more or less confessions. Haupt- 
mann's artistic character is above all condensed ^ 
humanity. In order to lay bare the psychology 
of his own mind, he disregards the laws and 
principles of artistic structure. Reverting to 
our criticism on " Florian Geyer," we may say 
that his weakness in the one is his strength in 
the other. " Atlantis " is the faithful descrip- 
tion of the crisis in Hauptmann's hfe, when, 
in 1892, he suddenly left Europe to cross 
the ocean for America. It also recalls 
Hauptmann's severe illness in the years 1904 
and 1905, when death was quite as near to 


&S Gerhart Hauptmann 

him as it is to Friedrich in the novel. " At- 
lantis " leaves the impression of being almost 
a medical report. Friedrich von Kammacher 
is the Hauptmann of the nineties. In the 
account of his marriage we read Haupt- 
mann 's confession of the circumstances of 
his own married life, even in detail. Eva 
Burns may have been drawn largely from 
Margarethe Marschalk, Hauptmann's second 

Although " Atlantis " is deficient from the 
artistic point of view, yet it proves to be 
the work of an artist. Hauptmann gives us a 
description of the storm in the middle of the 
Atlantic as if he had been an eye-witness. We 
have lately read the terrible account of one 
of the greatest of ocean disasters. The 
novel was written before it. And yet, 
somehow, it seems as if its accoimt were 
inspired by those sombre reports. The pre- 
sentiment of danger oppressing everybody and 
causing a nervous tension approaching almost 
breaking point, and then the actual an- 
nouncement of real danger ; a sudden calm 

His Work from 1889-1912 89 

spreading in the first moment, a sense of 
unreality in face of the gravest possible reality 
— this is more than learned philosophy. It 
is the clairvoyance of genius. The intuitive 
psychical knowledge which Hauptmann pos- 
sesses is astonishing. He describes the feverish 
hallucinations of Friedrich, or his long dream 
with its intermingling of reality and illusion 
so truly that no psychologist could find fault 
with him. This, of course, is due to the fact 
that Hauptmann writes what he himself has 
lived through. Quite a series of autobio- 
graphical references might be gathered from 
" Atlantis," from which we quote only one on 
pages 18 and 19 : 

** It seems that the life of uncommon men 
with each decade enters a dangerous crisis. 
In such a crisis the accumulated germs of 
illness are either overcome and secreted, or 
the organism which carries them succumbs. 
Often such a succumbing is bodily death, but 
sometimes, too, only mental. And again, one 
of the most important and, to the observer, 
most marvellous crises is that at the turn 

90 Gerhart Hauptmann 

from the third to the fourth decade. The 
crisis hardly starts before the thirtieth year 
but it often happens that it is retarded till 
the middle of the thirties, and even beyond 
that ; for it is at the same time a great settle- 
ment of accounts, a fundamental balance of 
life which one will rather willingly defer as 
long as possible than tackle too early." 

The personal meaning of this remark is not 
hidden to those who have read our study. To 
confirm this assertion I quote a passage from 
" Greek Spring," where Hauptmann alludes to 
his previous journey to America : "I lived, 
then, through stormy weeks on two seas, and I 
knew perfectly that, even if we on our Bremen 
steamer actually reached the harbour, this 
would not be the harbour for my own fragile 

Since this study was written, Hauptmann 
has published the story of " Lohengrin," told 
for the young. He dedicated it to his son 
Benvenuto. To tell a story for young people 
is a task which I hardly thought Hauptmann 

His Work from 1889-1912 91 

fit for. And yet his version of the " Lohen- 
grin " legend is so attractive in its simpHcity, 
and yet so artistic in its well-balanced struc- 
ture, that it is certain to command admira- 
tion. Of course, Hauptmann cannot suppress 
himself. His technique, sprung from realistic 
soil, manifests itself in the psychology of the 
story. The old folk-lore legend, hke the ballad, 
brings forth only the main stages of the 
story's progress. The hnks are left to the 
imagination of the reader, and thus they 
appeal so much to the young naive mind, 
which is more imaginative than the sophisti- 
cated adult mind. It is in this respect, per- 
haps, that Hauptmann forgets that he is talking 
to the young. 

We recognize everywhere the f amihar charac- 
teristics of the artist, the psychological deepen- 
ing for realistic interpretation, the humanizing 
of conventional figures through compassion, 
and finally the powerful dramatic gradation in 
the description of single scenes. The story 
winds up with the profession of what we 
noticed to be a basis of Hauptmann's writing : 

92 V Gerhart Hauptmann 

the longing for beauty : *' Mankind had again 
driven out noblesse, beauty, goodness, love 
from their world into the deserts of maternal 
nature, into the fluctuating realm of infinity, 
wherein, if God will, they may yet steer 
towards their origin." 

III. Theory 

As Henrik Ibsen used to treat problems from 
various standpoints in successive dramas, so 
we have seen Hauptmann return again and 

\ again to the problems which arise before his 
pensive eye. He is a great sentiment aHst ; 
\ his wealth of feeling, as we noticed, is bound- 
less. But he is also an earnest and deep 
thinker. He is a personaHty, and he wants his 
plays "to be understood as the natural ex- 
pression of a personality.'* He pronounces 
his dramatic creed in his " Griechischer 
Friihling " (Greek Spring), but more definitely 
in the preface to the edition of his collected 
works in 1906 : 

" I believe the drama to be the expression of 

His Work from 1889-1912 93 

genuine mental activity, in a stage of high 
development. . . . From this aspect there re- 
sults a series of consequences which enlarge 
endlessly the range of the drama beyond that 
of the ruling dramaturgies on all sides, so that 
nothing that presents itself, either outwardly 
or inwardly, can be excluded from this form 
of thinking, which has become a form of art." 
We have already noted how much these words 
are akin to Lessing's own conception of drama. 
Gerhart Hauptmann is a truly artistic genius. 
His technical execution may sometimes be 
lacking, yet the inner vision is always perfect 
and definite, and it is irresistibly felt through- 
out his works. 

The spontaneity of his artistic nature reveals 
itself at its best in the diary he kept on his 
Greek voyage. In the spring of 1907 he em- 
barked to set eyes on the treasures of Greek 
nature and art, for which his soul had longed 
ever since he had grown up. The naivete of 
the great poet is alive in them, and responds 
to every new impression. He sees the beauty 
of Greece and he sees it with his own eyes. 


94 Gerhart Hauptmann 

He has come " to see visions, to hear voices " 
(p. 176). He has preserved the soft im- 
pressibility of a childlike and an artistic mind, 
unhardened by learning. Yet he is not Greek, 
he is German. His deep-rooted nationality 
makes itself felt. Homer's Odyssey accom- 
panies him, but he reads it with the eyes of 
Goethe, who wrote the " Nausikaa." There 
exists an excellent Germkn translation of 
Homer by Voss, but Goethe says : '* It is 
possible to think that somebody possesses a 
more naive and truer feeling for the original." 
Gerhart Hauptmann possesses this genuine 
affinity, although the national hue of his im- 
W)ressions is not to be disputed. We feel the 
kinship of one genius with the other, though 
they are separated by centuries and conti- 
nents. The national elements of Haupt- 
mann's art are so strongly felt that it is 
difficult even for a kindred nation like the 
English to appreciate his works at once. He 
acknowledges himself that he is fully aware of 
the Teutonic stamp of his artistic individuality : 
** A slim, tall English lady, handsome in her 

His Work from 1889-1912 95 

youth, with the noble features of classical 
portraits, is on board. Strangely enough, I can 
only imagine from such a race the Homeric 
ideal of woman, a Penelope, a Nausicaa '* 
(p. 64-65). We have only to think of " The 
Weavers " or of *' Emanuel Quint " to realize 
that Hauptmann actually is " the elevated 
expression of the national soul " — in these 
cases of the soul of his own Silesian people — 
which he declares (p. 103) to be the indispen- 
sable characteristic of every poet. He is very 
often said to be too sombre, his outlook on life 
too gloomy. There is no doubt that he can 
*be sombre and gloomy. He finds sacrificial 
homicide to be the root of tragedy. ** It 
cannot be denied, tragedy means hostility, 
persecution, hate and love as the rage of life I 
Tragedy means anxiety, disaster, danger, pain, 
torment, torture ; it means malice, crime, 
abjectness ; it means murder, bloodthirsti- 
ness, incest, and butchery " (p. 171). 

Yet we have only to look into his dramas 
to be convinced that Hauptmann is far from 
wishing tragedy to be a mere pile of melo- 



96 Gerhart Hauptmann 

V dramatic cruelties. What he wants to impress 
on our minds is that " tragedy and comedy do 
not originate in feebleness and flight from 
life" (p. 92). If he asserts that no tragedy is 
without murder, this murder is that guilt with- 
out which life itself cannot continue ; it is in 
itself the crime and the punishment (p. 170). 
This is a strong and powerful Weltanschauung 
in which the final, ethical, and metaphysical 
results of Darwinism and Nietzsche's doctrine 
are alive. But, just as Nietzsche's superman 
sings the song of supreme joy and dances the 
dance of Mistral, so Hauptmann's heart rejoices 
in serenity. We feel in his work that profoimd 
^^ and sincere compassion with people in misery 
\ and wretchedness. And yet he is fully in 
accord with Nietzsche's Zarathustra in placing 
" Lust " high beyond " Weh " : 

" Weh spricht : Vergeh ! 
Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit — 
Will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit." 

I The liberation of mankind is the ever- 

^ repeated song of his dramatic muse. Often 

the bonds and fetters are too strong to be 

His Work from 1889-1912 97 

broken. Helene dies, Vockerat finds his grave 
in the lake, Florian Geyer perishes ; and yet 
there is hope. Heinrich returns to new hfe, 
Crampton awakens ; even poor Hannele can 
reahze that " there is no deadly enmity 
between a healthy mind and reality ; and 
what it perhaps destroys it helps to build 
up again the more strongly" (p. 68), namely, 
in dreamy vision. This last quotation shows 
us how thoroughly optimistic Hauptmann's 
views are. He is no more a pessimist than 
Ibsen, who indeed may stand as the ideal 
optimist. Of course he had long years of 
personal gloom, when his outlook upon life 
seemed to be overshadowed by heavy clouds. 
But in 1907 these clouds had passed, and 
when he visits Olympia the soul of Aristo- 
phanes is much nearer to him than Homer's 
and the tragedians*. The highest form of 
human life seems to him to be "serenity, 
the serenity of a child, which in an aged man 
or nation either dies away, or rises to the power 
of comedy" (p. 90). In this sense, he con- 
tinues, tragedy and comedy have the same 


MJJL ^ mf^^efdff^ tMA^e^ 

98 Gerhart Haiiptmann 

material to deal with, just as Socrates in 
Plato's banquet declares that one and the same 
author should be able to write comedies and 
tragedies, and that the poet of tragedy should 
/be also the poet of comedy. Hauptmann's 
artistic belief, as confessed here, is a thoroughly 
strong and healthy one. He has often been 
condemned for a failure to create strong per- 
sonalities as did the classical writers in ancient 
and modern times. The overpoweringly strong 
will of the hero, crushed only by external 
and divine fate, seems to be lacking in his 
dramas. It does not lie with us to refute this 
accusation by citing characters hke Prince 
Heinrich or Charlemagne, who surely conquer 
themselves, and who when judged by the end 
of the drama can never be called weakHngs. It 
would be useless hair-splitting to attempt to 
acquit the author of this accusation : Dr. 
Vockerat, Meister Heinrich, Gabriel SchiUing — 
they, all prove it to be true. And yet what 
does this prove against Hauptmann's genius ? 
Every age has its own drama. Shakespeare's 
tragedy is different from the Greek, Goethe's is 

His Work from 1889-1912 99 

different from Shakespeare's. Again we repeat 
Hauptmann's words that the poet is the elevated y^ 
expression of the people's soul. The epoch he 
lives in differs fundamentally from preced- 
ing ages. The poet is the mouthpiece of the / 
Zeitgeist. The characters of his drama are the y 
types of his age. Every great poet is a sincere 
realist. Even if we had no documents of 
the English Renaissance, we could trace the 
psychology of the Renaissance type from 
Shakespeare's plays. Hauptmann draws the 
realistic portrait of man at the threshold of the 
twentieth century. We cannot blame him 
for the nervous character of his age. The in- 
tellectual revolution caused by the inventions 
of modern technique, and by the doctrines of 
modern science, has not yet subsided. The \ ; 
confidence in the individual will-power lias been ^ 
shaken. It is gradually beginning to form 
and strengthen again. We are really too close 
to judge, but it seems as if we are now living 
in an age of convalescence. This convales- 
cence is, in Germany, inseparably allied with 
German idealism, of which Gerhart Haupt- 

icxD Gerhart Hauptmann 

mann is a pronounced adherent. He has lived 
through the nervous and unstable times of 
the last decades of the nineteenth century. 
But when we follow him in his " Greek Spring," 
where he unreservedly gives us his impressions 
at first sight, he stands before us as a strongly 
built and strongly-willed personality. It is 
evidence of superb strength and health when 
he writes : " Tragedy as well as comedy have 
nothing to do with weak, super-sensitive 
nerves, and as little as they, have their 
writers — but least of all, their audience '* 
(p. 91). Such an utterance makes us look for- 
ward to the future productions of Hauptmann's 
genius with the greatest confidence, with the 
highest expectation. 

The artist Hauptmann is ever awake. He 
never contents himself in telling us what every- 
body knows. He wrestles with life to force it to 
yield its secret. He is a seeker after truth. 
" The bell is more than the church, the call to 
dinner is more than the food," says Michael 
Kramer. The burning desire of his heart to 
announce inspired messages is urging him on 

His Work from 1889-1912 loi 

to ever new attempts. Often he seems to be 
possessed with the idea of a new drama before 
the old one is off his hands. Hence the im- 
maturity of some of his recent dramas. But 
mature or not, his new plays invariably tell 
us something, something which we did not 
know before. The Faust-like words Prince 
Heinrich speaks to Ottacher, his servant, are 
a very suitable motto for Hauptmann's own 
artistic personality : 

'* Du rangst ! Dein Ringen hab ich wohl erkannt. 
Die Ringenden sind die Lebendigen, und 
Die in der Irre rastlos streben, sind 
Auf gutem Weg." 


The embarras de richesses in publications on 
Gerhart Hauptmann proves that he undoubtedly 
is a powerful factor in modern German civiHzation. 
He is fundamentally involved in it. It cannot be 
thought of without him. It may be said of Goethe 
that his age bears his stamp. We cannot say so 
much of Hauptmann. But he gives voice to his 
time ; he is, as we have already expressed it, 
the mouthpiece of the Zeitgeist. 

I naturally cannot enumerate all the articles 
on the subject which have been published in 
periodicals. Poole and Fletcher, in their admirable 
" Index to Periodical Literature," give rich 
materials ; the " Spectator," in 1893 (p. 436), 
gave the first notice of Hauptmann's works. 
Since then almost every journal seems to have 
had at least one article on the German play- 

The " Atlantic," in 1897-8, by T. F. Coar ; in 
1900 by M. Miiller. 


Conclusion 103 

The " Nation " (New York), in igoo-i, by Kuno 
Francke ; in 1901 by C. Harris ; in 1898 by 
Kuno Francke ; in 1902-3 by Kuno Francke. 

The " Fortnightly Review," in 1901, by B. Mar- 

The " Quarterly Review " in 1 899-1900. 

The " Edinburgh Review," in 1903. 

The " Saturday Review," in 1904-5, by M. 
Most of these articles appeared in " Poet-Lore." 

1905, '* Bulthaupts Interpretation of Gerhart 
Hauptmann," by P. H. Grummann, No. 2, 
p. 117. 

1908 (March), "German Drama, Poetry, and Fiction 
in 1908," by AmeHa von Ende, p. 120-8. 

1909 (May), " The Assumption of Hannele," 
p. 161-91. 

1909 (July), " Before Dawn," p. 241-315. 

1909 (May), "The Standpoint of Pippa Dances," 
by P. H. Grummann, p. 129-34. 

1910 (July), " Dramas of Gerhart Hauptmann," 
by P. H. Grummann, p. 285-99. 

The year 1912 has naturally witnessed an enor- 

I04 Gerhart Hauptmann 

mous increase in Hauptmann literature. But as 
far as I have seen none of the first-rate monthly 
and quarterly periodicals of England has an 
article celebrating Hauptmann 's fiftieth birthday. 
The admiration of the dramatist is much greater 
in America, where the first dissertation in English 
on Hauptmann was published. 

Carl Albert Krause, " Gerhart Hauptmann's 
Treatment of Blank Verse." New York 
Dissertation, igio. 

For biographical purposes, I mention Modern 
Dramatists. MuUiken, C. A., Reading Hst on 
modern dramatists. Bulletin of Bibliography 
pamphlets. No. i8, 1907. 



A. General publications on modern German 

Albert Sorgel, " Dichtung und Dichter der Zeit." 
Leipzig, igii. 

Rich. M. Meyer, " Die Deutsche Literatur des 19 
Jahrhunderts." 4th edition. Berlin, 1911. 

Georg Witkowski, " Das Deutsche Drama des 
19 Jahrhunderts." 3rd edition. The 2nd 
edition of 1906 is translated by L. E. Horning 
and was pubHshed in 1909 by George Bell 
and Sons, London. 

Georg Witkowski, " Die Entwicklung der Deut- 
schen Literatur seit 1830." Leipzig, 191 2. 

O. E. Lessing, " Masters in Modern German 
Literature." Dresden, 1912. 

Otto Doell, " Die Entwicklung der naturalistischen 

io6 Gerhart Hauptmann 

Form in jiingstdentschen Drama. Hamburg, 

Richard Huneker, "Iconoclasts" [contains an 
essay on Hauptmann.] 

There are many other pubHcations ; every 
history of German Uterature, brought up to date, 
deals with Gerhart Hauptmann. In Enghsh I 
mention J. G. Robertson's thorough "History of 
German Literature," and his very useful "Out- 
lines " [191 1]. Other histories are those by 
Kuno Francke [1901], and by Calvin Thomas, 
[1909]. I also mention T. F. Coar, "German 
Literature in the 19th Century" [1910], and Ashley 
Duke's " Modern Dramatists " [191 1]. 

For a general survey of the history of German 
thought in the 19th century I refer to W. Windel- 

band's excellent lectures on " Die Philosophie im 
deutschen Geistesleben des I9ten. Jahrhunderts," 
Tubingen [1909], and to the copious volume of 
Th. Ziegler, " Die Geistigen und Sozialen Stromun- 
gen des 19 Jahrhunderts." Berhn [191 1]. 

B. Biographies of Gerhart Hauptmann 

Adolf Bartels, " Gerhart Hauptmann." Weimar, 

Bibliography 107 

U. C. Worner, " Gerhart Hauptmann," 2nd 
edition. Berlin [1901]. 

Paul Schlenther, " Gerhart Hauptmann : sein 
Lebensgang und seine Dichtung." Berlin 

This book is indispensable for everybody who 
studies Hauptmann's life, as it is the best-informed 
of all his biographies. Fortunately it has now been 
brought up to date in the new edition of igi2. 

Albert Hanstein, " Gerhart Hauptmann." Leipzig 
Valuable as written by a witness of Hauptmann's 

Sigmund Bytkowski, " Gerhart Hauptmann's 
NaturaHsmus und das Drama." Hamburg 

Gerhart Hauptmann, " Kritische Studien." 
Special number of the Journal " Zeitschrift 
fiir Schlesische Kultur." Ed. by Dr. O. 
Reier [Vol. H, No. 12, 1909]. 

E. Sulger-Gebing, " Gerhart Hauptmann." Leip- 
zig [1909]. 

Kurt Sternberg, "Gerhart Hauptmann. Der 
Entwicklungsgang seiner Dichtungen " [1910]. 

io8 Gerhart Hauptmann 

Julius Rohr, ** Gerhart Hauptmann's Dramatisches 
Schaffen." Dresden and Leipzig [1912]. 

Erich Wulffen, " Gerhart Hauptmann's Dramen," 
2nd edition. Berhn [191 1]. 
Interesting studies in the criminal psychology 

and pathology of Hauptmann's characters ; not 

very satisfactory. 

There are many articles scattered throughout 
German and English periodicals. To name one, I 
refer to Robert Petsch, " Gerhart Hauptmann 
und die Tragodie des XIX Jahrhunderts." Neue 
Jahrbiicher, 1908, I. Abt., XXI Bd., 8 H. 





" Promethidenlos " . 

" The Collection of 

Lyrics " (Das Bunte 





Buch) . 

(unpubUshed) 51 






" Vor Sonnenaufgang " ^ 


( 21-23, 

(Before Dawn)." 
Poet - Lore in July 

> 1889 

! 24-26, 
1 42,43, 

(1909), p. 241-315 . , 


I 52 






" Das Friedensfest." 
Translated as '* The 
Coming of Peace," 
by Janet Achurch 
and C. E. Wheeler 

(1910) . 


39-44, 52 


no Gerhart Hauptmann 


" Einsame Men- 



schen." Translated 

as " Lonely Lives/* 
by Mary Morrison 
(1898) . . . 




"Die Weber" (The 

Weavers). Trans- 
lated by Mary Morri- 
son (1899) 




" Kollege Crampton '* 




" Der Biberpelz " . 



10. " Hannele's Himmel- 
fahrt " (Hannele). 
Translated by 

William Archer 
(1894). " Assump- 
tion of Hannele,'* 
Poet -Lore in May 


(1909), p. I6I-9I . 



Florian Geyer " 



Elga" . 



Helios '* 



Table of Works 1 1 1 


14. " Die Versunkene 

Glocke " (The Sun- 
ken Bell). Freely 
entered into English 
verse by Charles 

Henry Meltzer (1907) 




" Das Hirtenlied " . 




" Fuhrmann Hen- 

schel " . 




"Schluckundjau" . 




'' Michael Kramer " . 




" Der Rote Hahn " . 




" Def Arme Hein- 

rich" . 


52, 63-65 


" Rose Bernd " 




" Und Pippa Tanzt ! " | 
" Gesammelte Werke" J 


{ 65-71 


" Die Jungfern vom 


Bischofsberg " 



24. " Aus den Memoiren 

eines Edelmanns " . 1907 45 

" -^-^ . 

112 Gerhart Hauptmann 


25. " Kaiser Karl's 

Geisel " . . 1908 7^-73 

26. " Griechischer Friih- 

ling" . . . 1908 53 

27. '* Griselda " . . 1909 74 

^ 28. *' Emanuel Quint." 
English Translation 
(1913) . . . 1910 83-86 

29. " Die Ratten " . . 191 1 34 

30. " Gabriel Schilling's 1 Jii, 46-48, 

Flucht" . . 1 ^^^^ I 52 

J 31. '' Atlantis " . . 1 f ^^ 

* ^ I 1912 \ 86-90 

" Gesammelte Werke" J [ 

32. " Lohengrin " . . 1913 90-92 

.a,' -i 





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